Outside of a penguin,
A book is man's best friend.
Inside of a penguin,
It's too dark to read."

      —apologies to Groucho Marx
Included here are notices of books that have been published, although some may now be out-of-print.
[This is a selective listing—books that are a little different, break some new ground (or ice) or otherwise are more than the usual run-of-the-mill treatment of Antarctic-related subjects. Occasional articles and journals, too.]
Reviews and suggestions of titles for inclusion are welcomed.
Generally, newer books appear first.

See 'Antarctic Books Due and Works-in-Progress'—elsewhere on this site—for works yet to be published.

Last updated: 15 August 2021.

Accessed at least many times since 16 April 2007.


SOME ANTARCTIC E-BOOKS Some Antarctic E-books

Airey, Len and John Elliot, illustrator. On Antarctica
Aldridge, Don. The Rescue of Captain Scott
Amundsen, Roald. The Roald Amundsen Diaries: The South Pole Expedition 1910-12
[Antarctic Heritage Trust]. Conservation Report; Shackleton's Hut
Anthony, Jason. Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day and other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine
Ayres, Philip. Mawson: A Life
Barczewski, Stephanie. Antarctic Destinies; Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism
Basberg, Bjørn L. The Shore Whaling Stations at South Georgia; A Study in Antarctic Industrial Archaeology
Baughman, T.H. Pilgrims on the Ice: Robert Falcon Scott's First Antarctic Expedition
Belanger, Dian Olson. Deep Freeze; The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science
Bickel, Lennard. Shackleton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic
Blackadder, Jesse. Chasing the Light; a Novel of Antarctica
Blum, Hester. The News at the Ends of the Earth: The Print Culture of Polar Exploration
Bomann-Larsen, Tor. Roald Amundsen
Boothe, Joan N. The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica's Peninsula Region.
Borkan, Brad and David Hirzel. When your Life Depends On It; Extreme Decision Making Lessons from the Antarctic
Bowers, Henry. The South Pole Journals
Brackett, Geoffrey L. At the End of the Earth: How Polar Ice and Imagination Shape the World
Bradfield, Elizabeth. Toward Antarctica
Bransfield, Sheila. The Man Who Discovered Antarctica; Edward Bransfield explained
Bryan, Rorke. Ordeal by Ice: Ships of the Antarctic
Bulkeley, Rip. Bellingshausen and the Russian Antarctic Expedition, 1819-21
Bull, Colin. Innocents in the Dry Valleys
Bullock, Mike. Priestley's Progress: The Life of Sir Raymond Priestley, Antarctic Explorer, Scientist, Soldier, Academician.
Burke, David Body at the Melbourne Club
Burton, Robert Southern Horizons; The History of the British Antarctic Territory
Burton, Robert and Stephen Venables Shackleton at South Georgia
Butler, Angie The Quest for Frank Wild
Butler, Angie and Beau Riffenburgh Shackleton's Critic; The Life & Diaries of Eric Stewart Marshall
Campbell, R.J. The Discovery of the South Shetland Islands. The Voyages of the Brig Williams, 1819-1820, and the Journal of Midshipman C.W. Poynter
Charcot, J.B. Towards the South Pole Aboard the Français
Cherry-Garrard, Apsley, editor. The South Polar Times Vol IV
Cherry-Garrard, Apsley. The Worst Journey in the World
Coleman, E.C. The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration from Frobisher to Ross
Coleman, E.C. The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration from Franklin to Scott
Daly, Regina W. The Shackleton Letters: Behind the Scenes of the Nimrod Expedition
Day, David Antarctica: A Biography
Crane, David Scott of the Antarctic; A Life of Courage and Tragedy in the Extreme South
Davies, Francis. With Scott before the Mast
Davies, Paul. From South Devon to The South Pole
[Davies, Sir Peter Maxwell.] Notes from a Cold Climate. Antarctic Symphony. (Symphony No. 8)
Day, David. Antarctica: A Biography
Duyker, Edward. Dumont d'Urville
Fadiman, Anne. Ex Libris; Confessions of a Common Reader
Feeney, Robert E. Polar Journeys; The Role of Food and Nutrition in Early Exploration
Fiennes, Ranulph. Captain Scott
Fleming, Fergus, guest editor. Polar Edition, The Book Collector. Volume 67, No. 3, Autumn 2018
Forster, Georg. Cook, the Discoverer
Fox, William L. Terra Antarctica; Looking into the Emptiest Continent
Freemantle, James. Shackleton & an Albion Press: the story of the first book printed in the Antarctic
Fox, William L. The Antarctic from Circle to Pole (essay)
Fretwell, Peter Antarctic Atlas; New Maps and Graphics that tell the Story of a Continent
Gillespie, Noel Courage Sacrifice Devotion; The History of the US Navy Antarctic VXE-6 Squadron 1955-99
Glines, Carroll V. Bernt Balchen, Polar Aviator
Gurney, Alan. The Race to the White Continent: Voyages to the Antarctic
Goodlad, James A. Scotland & the Antarctic
Guthridge, Guy G. The Antarctic from Circle to Pole (introduction)
Haddelsey, Stephen. Born Adventurer—The Life of Frank Bickerton Antarctic Pioneer
Haddelsey, Stephen. Ice Captain: The Life of J.R. Stenhouse
Haddelsey, Stephen. Operation Tabarin
Haddelsey, Stephen. Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary and the Crossing of Antarctica
Hall, Lincoln. Douglas Mawson--The Life of an Explorer
Hart, Ian B. Pesca: A History of the Pioneer Modern Whaling Company in the Antarctic
Heacox, Kim. Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenged
Headland, Robert K. A Chronology of Antarctic Exploration
Hermelo, Ricardo S., José M. Sobral, Felipe Fliess. When The Corvette Uruguay was Dismasted: The Return of the Uruguay from The Antarctic In 1903
Hince, Bernadette, Rupert Summerson and Arnan Wiesel, editors. Antarctica; Music, Sounds and Cultural Connections
Hince, Bernadette. The Antarctic Dictionary
Hince, Bernadette, editor. Still no Mawson: Frank Stillwell's Antarctic Diaries 1911-13
Hirzel, David. Hold Fast: Tom Crean
Hirzel, David. Sailor on Ice: Tom Crean
Hodgson, Barbara. Hippolyte's Island
Hoflehner, Josef and Katharina (photographs) and David L. Harrowfield (text). Frozen History; The Legacy of Scott and Shackleton
Hooper, Meredith. The Ferocious Summer; Palmer's Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica
Hooper, Meredith. The Longest Winter; Scott's Other Heroes
Hooper, Meredith and Lucia deLeiris, illustrator. Antarctic Journal: The Hidden Worlds of Antarctica's Wildlife
Huntford, Roland. Race for the South Pole; The Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen.
Hunter, George. Jenny M. Hunter, editor. Rise & Shine: Diary of John George Hunter. Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1913
Hunter, Jenny M. Hunter, editor. Rise & Shine: Diary of John George Hunter Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1913
Huntford, Roland, introduction by. The Shackleton Voyages; A Pictorial Anthology of the Polar Explorer and Edwardian Hero
Hurley, Frank. South with Endurance; Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917, The Photographs of Frank Hurley
Johnson, Charls W. Ice Ship; The Epic Voyages of the Polar Adventurer Fram
Jones, Aubrey A. Scott's Forgotten Surgeon; Dr Reginald Koettlitz, Polar Explorer
Jones, Max, Edited by. Journals. Captain Scott's Last Expedition
Jones, Max. The Last Great Quest: Captain Scott's Antarctic Sacrifice
Karrow, Robert W., Jr., editor and David C. White and Patrick Morris, compilers. The Gerald F. Fitzgerald Collection of Polar Books, Maps, and Art at the Newberry Library, A Catalogue
Kelly, John. Due South: An Antarctic Journal
Keough, Pat and Rosemarie. Antarctica
Klipper, Stuart. The Antarctic from Circle to Pole
Kløver, Geir. Lessons from the Arctic; How Roald Amundsen Won the Race to the South Pole
Kohl-Larsen, Ludwig; translated by William Barr. South Georgia; Gateway to Antarctica
Krause, Reinhard A. and Lars U. Scholl. The Magic of Antarctic Colours
Lagerbom, Charles H. The Fifth Man: Henry R. Bowers
Lambert, Katherine Hell with a Capital H; An Epic Story of Antarctic Survival
Lankford, Nelson D. and Warren R. Hofstra, editors. Richard E. Byrd and the Legacy of Polar Exploration
Larson, Edward J. Public Science for a Global Empire: The British Quest for the South Magnetic Pole
Leane, Dr Elizabeth. Antarctica in Fiction; Imaginative Narratives of the Far South
Leane, Dr Elizabeth. Representations of Antarctica—A Bibliography
Lewis-Jones, Huw. Face to Face Polar Portraits
Lipton, David L. Some Ideas about the Far South before the Western European Age of Discovery
Locke, Stephen. George Marston: Shackleton's Antarctic Artist
MacKenzie, Julian and Lisa Milton and Richard Kossow. The "Taurus" Collection; 150 Collectible Books on the Antarctic. A Bibliography
MacPhee, Ross D. E. Race to the End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the Pole
Madigan, C. T. Madigan's Account. The Mawson Expedition. The Antarctic Diaries of C. T. Madigan 1911-1914.
Manhire, Bill. The Wide White Page; Writers Imagine Antarctica
Martin, Stephen. A History of Antarctica
[Mawson, Douglas.] The Adelie Blizzard; Mawson's Forgotten Newspaper 1913
Mayer, Jim. Shackleton; A Life in Poetry
McElrea, Richard and David Harrowfield Polar Castaways: The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton
McGonigal, David and Lynn Woodworth. Antarctica: The Complete Story
McGregor, Alasdair. Frank Hurley: A Photographer's Life
McKernan, Victoria. Shackleton's Stowaway
McOrist, Wilson. Shackleton's Heroes; the epic story of the men who kept the Endurance expedition alive
[Mill, Hugh Robert, and Emily Shackleton] Rejoice My Heart: The Making of H.R. Mill's "The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton"; The Private Correspondence of Dr. Hugh Robert Mill and Lady Shackleton, 1922-33
Mills, Leif. Frank Wild
Mills, William James. Exploring Polar Frontiers: A Historical Encyclopedia
Mornement, Allan & Beau Riffenburgh. Mertz & I… The Antarctic Diary of Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis
Morrell, Margot and Stephanie Capparell. Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Mueller, Melinda. What the Ice Gets; Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1916
Murphy, David Thomas. German Exploration of the Polar World: A History, 1870-1940
Murphy, Shane. Endurance in the Antarctic [postcards]
Murphy, Shane, editor. Shackleton's Photographer; Frank Hurley's Endurance Diaries 1914-17
Murray, James and George Marston. Antarctic Days—Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life by Two of Shackleton's Men
Nasht, Simon. The Last Explorer; Hubert Wilkins, Australia's Unknown Hero
Nugent, Frank. Seek the Frozen Lands: Irish Polar Explorers 1740-1922
Paine, M.L., edited with and Introduction by. Footsteps on the Ice; The Antarctic Diaries of Stuart D. Paine, Second Byrd Expedition
Pawson, Ken. Antarctica: "...To a Lonely Land I Know"
Perkins, Dennis N.T. Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition
Philbrick, Nathaniel. Sea of Glory; America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition 1838-1842
Pierce, Richard. Dead Men
Piggott, Dr Jan, editor, and others. Shackleton: The Antarctic and Endurance
Pimentel, Jean. Bibliographie Antarctique en langue française De Cook (1772) au Traité sur l'Antarctique (1959), avec une partie littérature, fiction et bande dessinée
Plimpton, George. Ernest Shackleton
Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. Scott of the Antarctic and Plymouth's Antarctic Connections - a brochure
Poncet, Sally and Kim Crosbie A Visitor's Guide to South Georgia
Pool, Beekman H. Polar Extremes: The World of Lincoln Ellsworth
Poulsom, Lieutenant Colonel Neville W. and Rear Admiral J.A.L. Myres CB. British Polar Exploration and Research; A Historical and Medallic Record with Biographies 1818-1999
Pyne, Steven J. The Antarctic from Circle to Pole (essay)
Raeside, Adrian Return to Antarctica: The Amazing Adventure of Sir Charles Wright on Robert Scott's Journey to the South Pole
Rajala, Elizabeth Anna Bakewell. The American on the Endurance; Ice, Seas, and Terra Forma Adventures of William L. Bakewell
Reynolds, William. The Private Journal of William Reynolds, United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
Riffenburgh, Beau, Aurora; Douglas Mawson and the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14
Riffenburgh, Beau, Ernest Shackleton
Riffenburgh, Beau, Racing with Death: Douglas Mawson - Antarctic Explorer
Riffenburgh, Beau. Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition; The Voyage of the Nimrod
Riffenburgh, Beau, et al. With Scott to the Pole: The Terra Nova Expedition 1910-13
Roberts, David. Alone on the Ice
Roberts, June and Steve Heavens. Penguin Diplomacy
Robson, John. The Captain Cook Encyclopædia
Robson, John. Captain Cook's World; Maps of the Life and Voyages of James Cook R.N.
Ronne, Edith "Jackie". Antarctica's First Lady
Rose, Lisle A. Explorer: The Life of Richard E. Byrd
Rosove, Michael H. Antarctica, 1772-1922; Freestanding Publications through 1999
Rosove, Michael H. Additions and Corrections Supplement to the Rosove Antarctic Bibliography.
Rosove, Michael H. Let Heroes Speak: Antarctic Explorers 1772-1922
[Rosove, Michael H.] Rejoice My Heart: The Making of H.R. Mill's "The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton"; The Private Correspondence of Dr. Hugh Robert Mill and Lady Shackleton, 1922-33
Rosove, Michael H. When The Corvette Uruguay was Dismasted: The Return of the Uruguay from The Antarctic In 1903
Ross, Chet Lieutenant Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912 - A Bibliography
Rossiter, Heather. Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer: The Life of Herbert Dyce Murphy
Royds, Lieutenant Charles W R RN. The Diary of Lieutenant Charles W R Royds RN Expedition to the Antarctic 1901-1904
Rubin, Jeff. Antarctica
Rubin, Jeff. Train Oil and Snotters; Eating Antarctic Wild Foods
Sale, Julian. Polar Reaches
Sancton, Richard. Madhouse at the End of the Earth
Sanders, Damien, annotated by. A Narrative of the Life, Travels and Sufferings of Thomas W. Smith
Savours, Ann. The Voyages of the Discovery
Sellick, Douglas R.G. Antarctica: First Impressions 1773-1930
Shackleton, Sir Ernest H. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition
Shackleton, Ernest, L. C. Bernacchi and Apsley Cherry-Garrard, editors. The South Polar Times Vols I-III
Shackleton, Jonathan and John MacKenna Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica
Shirase, Nobu The Japanese South Polar Expedition 1910-1912. A Record of Antarctica
Shirihai, Hadoram The Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife...
Sienicki, Krzysztof. Captain Scott: Icy Deceits and Untold Realities
Skelton, J.V., Serge Aubert, Y. Frenot and A. Bignon Scott and Charcot at the col du Lautaret: 1908 Trials of the first motor driven sledges designed for transport in the Antarctic
Skelton, J.V. Another Little Job for the Tinker
Skelton, J.V. and D.M. Wilson. Discovery Illustrated: Pictures from Captain Scott's First Antarctic Expedition
Smith, Michael. An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor
Smith, Michael Captain Francis Crozier; Last Man Standing?
Smith, Michael. Great Endeavour; Ireland's Antarctic Explorers
Smith, Michael. I am just Going Outside
Smith, Michael. Ice Man: The Remarkable Adventures of Antarctic Explorer Tom Crean
Smith, Michael. James Wordie Polar Crusader; Exploring the Arctic and Antarctic
Smith, Michael. Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer
Smith, Michael Tom Crean; An Illustrated Life
Smith, Thomas W. A Narrative of the Life, Travels and Sufferings…
Smithsonian Institution. Shackleton's Captain: A Biography of Frank Worsley
Smithsonian Institution. U.S. Exploring Expedition Online
Solomon, Susan. The Coldest March
Speak, Peter. Deb; Geographer, Scientist, Antarctic Explorer
Speak, Peter. William Speirs Bruce. Polar Explorer and Scottish Nationalist
Stam, David H. Adventures in Polar Reading; The Book Cultures of High Latitudes
Stam, David H. and Deirdre C. Books on Ice; British & American Literature of Polar Exploration
Stewart, John. Antarctica; An Encyclopedia, 2nd edition
Stillwell, Frank. Bernadette Hince, Editor, Still no Mawson: Frank Stillwell's Antarctic Diaries 1911-13
Stone, Gregory S. Ice Island: Expedition to Antarctica's Largest Iceberg
Stonehouse, Bernard, Edited by. Encyclopedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans
Strange, Carolyn and Alison Bashford. Griffith Taylor: Visionary, Environmentalist, Explorer
Strathie, Anne. Birdie Bowers; Captain Scott's Marvel
Strathie, Anne. From Ice Floes to Battlefields: Scott's 'Antarctics' In the First World War
Strathie, Anne. Herbert Ponting; Scott's Antarctic Photographer and Pioneer Filmmaker
Stump, Edmund. The Roof at the Bottom of the World
Summers, Debbie. A Visitor's Guide to the Falkland Islands
Swithinbank, Charles. Vodka on Ice; A Year with the Russians in Antarctica
Taaffe, Seamus, editor. Nimrod; The Journal of the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School. Vol 1
Taaffe, Seamus, editor. Nimrod; The Journal of the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School. Vol 2
Taaffe, Seamus, editor. Nimrod; The Journal of the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School. Vol 3
Taaffe, Seamus, editor. Nimrod; The Journal of the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School. Vols 1-8
Tarver, Mike The S.S. Terra Nova (1884-1943)
Tarver, Mike. Antarctic Explorer and War Hero; The Man Who Found Captain Scott. Surgeon Captain Edward Leicester Atkinson
Tassi, Nina Carey and Pat Roach. Antarctic Visions
Tatham, David, editor. The Dictionary of Falklands Biography (including South Georgia)
Taylor, Stanley Gordon Roberts. Antarctic Diary
Thomson, John. Climbing the Pole: Edmund Hillary & The Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-1958
Thomson, John. The Orde Lees Journal: Elephant Island and Beyond
Thomson, John. Shackleton's Captain: A Biography of Frank Worsley
Trendall, Alec. Putting South Georgia on the Map
Trewby, Mary, Edited by. Antarctica: An Encyclopedia from Abbott Ice Shelf to Zooplankton
Tyler-Lewis, Kelly The Lost Men
van der Merwe, Pieter, General Editor. South: The Race for the Pole
Walton, David W.H. and Bruce Pearson. White Horizons: British Art from Antarctica, 1775-2006
Warr, Michael Murder in the Antarctic
Warr, Michael South of Sixty; Life on an Antarctic Base
Webster, Don. Scott Base Antarctica The Early Years
Wheeler, Sara. Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Williams, Isobel. Captain Scott's Invaluable Assistant: Edgar Evans
Williams, Isobel. With Scott in the Antarctic; Edward Wilson, Explorer, Naturalist, Artist
Williams, Isobel and John Dudeney. William Speirs Bruce, Forgoetten Polar Hero
Wilson, David M. The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott
Wilson, David M. Nimrod Illustrated
Wilson, David M. and David B. Elder. Cheltenham in Antarctica: the Life of Edward Wilson
Wilson, David M. and Christopher J. Wilson. Edward Wilson's Antarctic Notebooks
Wilson, David M. and Christopher J. Wilson. Edward Wilson's Nature Notebooks
Woodfield, Tom. Polar Mariner; beyond the limits in Antarctica
Yelverton, David E. Antarctica Unveiled
Yelverton, David E. Quest for a Phantom Strait; The Saga of the Pioneer Antarctic Peninsula Expeditions 1897-1905

WITH SCOTT BEFORE THE MAST Davies, Francis (Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing, 2020) 152pp. Price £39.99. ISBN: 9781901037555 Web:

With Scott: Before the Mast is a unique account that serves as an antidote to this disconectedness. It is no fictional "Hornblower", although it may seem so at times. This is a true story. It presents one man's account of his part in a great act of derring-do, the assault on the South Pole in 1912. Most records of Captain Scott's British Antarctic Expedition aboard Terra Nova (1910-1913) are the accounts of officers. With Scott: Before the Mast is the story of Francis Davies, Shipwright, R.N., and Carpenter. The title says it all but may be lost on landlubbers. Before the mast means "to serve as an ordinary seaman in a sailing ship". This makes it a rare and hugely important account, presenting a viewpoint from the lower ranks.”
—The website.
(15 August 2021)

ANTARCTIC ATLAS; NEW MAPS AND GRAPHICS THAT TELL THE STORY OF A CONTINENT Fretwell, Peter. (London: Particular Books, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2020) [360]pp. Price £35. ISBN: 978-1-846-14933-7 Web:

“A leading cartographer from the British Antarctic Survey maps the continent in ways never seen before, revealing a landscape as alien as it is vital to our very existence

One of the least-known places on the planet, the only continent on earth with no indigenous population, Antarctica is a world apart. From a leading cartographer with the British Antarctic Survey, this new collection of maps and data reveals Antarctica as we have never seen it before.

This is not just a book of traditional maps. It measures everything from the thickness of ice beneath our feet to the direction of ice flows. It maps volcanic lakes, mountain ranges the size of the Alps and gorges longer than the Grand Canyon, all hidden beneath the ice. It shows us how air bubbles trapped in ice tell us what the earth's atmosphere was like 750,000 years ago, proving the effects of greenhouse gases. Colonies of emperor penguins abound around the coastline, and the journeys of individual seals around the continent and down to the sea bed in search of food have been intricately tracked and mapped. Twenty-nine nations have research stations in Antarctica and their unique architecture is laid out here, along with the challenges of surviving in Antarctica'sunforgiving environment.

Antarctica is also the frontier of our fight against climate change. If its ice melts, it will swamp almost every coastal city in the world. Antarctic Atlas illustrates the harsh beauty and magic of this mysterious continent, and shows how, far from being abstract, it has direct relevance to us all.”
—The website.
(15 August 2021)

SHACKLETON'S CRITIC; THE LIFE & DIARIES OF ERIC STEWART MARSHALL Butler, Angie and Beau Riffenburgh. (Radway: Jackleberry Press, 2020) [360]pp. Price £25. ISBN: 978-0-9569272-4 Web:

“On 9 January 1909, Eric Stewart Marshall joined Ernest Shackleton, Frank Wild and Jameson Adams in raising the Union Jack high on the desolate Antarctic Plateau, farther south than any men had reached before. A month and a half later, his individual heroics saved his three companions, who would otherwise have been doomed to icy graves.

Two years on, Marshall stood alone on a ridge deep in the interior of New Guinea, the first man from the Western world ever to see it. But Marshall received neither fame nor fortune from these great achievements, and the man described by fellow explorer Raymond Priestley as having ‘the build and arrogance of the class rugger forward’ became ever more embittered. As time passed, much of Marshall’s spleen was directed at Shackleton.

The depth of Butler and Riffenburgh’s research is a feat of its own and we are given a unique insight into an Edwardian whose recognition is long overdue.”
—The website.
(15 August 2021)

HERBERT PONTING; SCOTT'S ANTARCTIC PHOTOGRAPHER AND PIONEER FILMMAKER Strathie, Anne. (Cheltenham: The History Press, 2021) 271pp. Price £16.99. ISBN: 9780750979016 Web:

“Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) was young bank clerk when he bought an early Kodak compact camera. By the early 1900s, he was living in California, working as a professional photographer, known for stereoview and enlarged images of America, Japan and the Russo-Japanese war. In 1909, back in Britain, Ponting was recruited by Captain Robert Scott as photographer and filmmaker for his second Antarctic expedition. In 1913, following the deaths of Scott and his South Pole party companions, Ponting’s images of Antarctica were widely published, and he gave innovative ‘cinema-lectures’ on the expedition. When war broke out, Ponting’s offers to serve as a photographer or correspondent were declined, but in 1918 he, Ernest Shackleton and other Antarctic veterans joined a government-backed Arctic expedition. During the economically depressed 1920s and 1930s, Ponting wrote his Antarctic memoir, re-worked his Antarctic films into silent and ‘talkie’ versions and worked on inventions. Like others, he struggled financially but was sustained by correspondence with photographic equipment magnate George Eastman, a late-life romance with singer Glae Carrodus and knowing that his images of Antarctica had secured his place in photographic and filmmaking history.”
—The website.
(15 August 2021)

MADHOUSE AT THE END OF THE EARTH Sancton, Julian. (New York: Crown, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2021) 350pp. Price $30. ISBN: 978-1-9848-2433-2 Web:

Madhouse at the End of the Earth [is an] exquisitely researched and deeply engrossing account of the Belgica’s disastrous Antarctic expedition. Sancton uses . . . an extraordinary treasure trove . . . to tease out the personalities and fears and rivalries of his subjects [in] his increasingly harrowing descriptions of life on the Belgica.”
—The New York Time.
(15 August 2021)

PENGUIN DIPLOMACY Roberts, June and Steve Heavens. (Cirencester: Mereo Books, 2020. Trade paperback. 484pp. £12.99. ISBN: 978-1-86151-963-4

"Brian Birley Roberts (1912-1978) was acknowledged among the polar community in his time as Britain’s foremost expert on the Antarctic, and was the main driving force behind the Antarctic Treaty which has protected the region for the past 60 years. A scientist of enormous determination and dedication, he devoted much of his life to the protection of wilderness and wildlife. Yet he was a self-effacing man who preferred to avoid the limelight. Largely because of this, to the outside world he is almost unknown.
The authors are Steve Heavens and June Roberts, Brian’s niece, who have researched numerous unpublished archives, including Brian Roberts’ own detailed, extensive and often very entertaining diaries."
I've not seen this book but Brian Roberts was a prominent Antarctican so this title is no doubt worth seeking out.
—R. Stephenson, July 18, 2020.


SCOTT BASE ANTARCTICA THE EARLY YEARS Webster, Don (New Zealand: Don Webster, 2019) 268pp. Numerous photographs, many in color. Price: $NZ59.95. ISBN: 978-0-473-45852-2. Web:

"For two periods in the early 1960s young science technician Don Webster wintered over in Antarctica, helping build extensions to the New Zealand station at Scott Base. It was barely two years after Sir Edmond Hillary’s record-breaking 1957-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
    In this book Don describes in detail the design and construction of the buildings of the base, providing an invaluable historical record of both the physical base itself and also of daily life there in the summers and winters of those early years. Storms, severe cold and aircraft accidents are described in vivid detail.
    An outstanding feature of Scott Base Antarctica: The Early Years is the hundreds of photographs, many by the author himself, providing a unique and invaluable record of this pioneering period in New Zealand’s presence in the great southern continent."

CONTENTS See for more information.

Chapters 1 & 2 cover my background and describes the lifestyle and technology of the period—the late fifties and early sixties. This is followed by my preparations and my journeys to Antarctica by sea and air.

Chapters 3 & 4 give an overall description of the old Scott Base and its construction and show pictorially its evolution.

Chapters 5 to 15 provide details of the huts, the early changes as the base grew, and stories of what went on in them. Chapter 12 details the building the first remote station at the now-designated quiet scientific area at Arrival Heights.

Chapter 16 talks about the transport we used in the early years and includes a few aircraft mishaps.

Then Chapter 17 & 18 cover the winter and wintering-over in 1960 and 1963, and my trips home.

Chapter 19 shows the changes in huts and accommodation spanning 100 years by comparing Scott’s Cape Evans, 1913, base and the two Scott Bases, 1963 and 2013.

Chapter 20 tells of meeting three sailors from Scott’s ship Terra Nova and of my current work.

Appendices - one listing further reading on this time and area of Antarctica.

Index—eleven pages of indexing.

About the Author "Don Webster retired from a career in electronics and computing and now lives in the lower North Island, New Zealand, with his books, cat and computers, not necessarily, he says, in that order. He has a keen interest in early Antarctic history, aircraft and travel, and is a collector of Antarctic books.
    During his frequent travels he has spent many weeks at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England, and the archives at the Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada. He has visited many aircraft museums and second-hand bookshops in Canada, England and the USA."

Previous Mentions:

Don Webster e-mails to say: "I have finished a book on my experiences in the Antarctic. Scott Base Antarctic The Early Years. A science technician's view of the years 1960 and 63, including the Base's growth from its construction, and through the two major extensions.
    Synopsis: This book about the early years of Scott Base, New Zealand’s first Antarctic base of its building in the summer of 1957-58, and its two  major expansions in 1960 and 1963.
    Don Webster was there during the two summer expansions and the following winters. He writes about the growth of the base over the first six years describing the changes and additions. This book tracks the base from its original 10 huts covering 5,378 square feet to 15 buildings covering 15,477 square feet. 
    Don describes his time in the Antarctic of 50 years ago, of arriving by sea in a wooden diesel-electric ship, a ship with two sails, and flying home in the first C-130 Hercules aircraft to reach the Antarctic."
    Don goes on to say that he was originally going to self-publish the book but now it will be issued by a a New Zealand publisher and be available hopefully in March 2019.
(21 December 2018)

—R. Stephenson
(14 April 2020)

CHASING THE LIGHT; A NOVEL OF ANTARCTICA Blackadder, Jesse (Australia: HarperCollins Australia (Fourth Estate). Trade paperback. 432pp. AUD$29.99.

"A fictional recounting of the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, and her extraordinary fight to get there. A fictional recounting of the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, and her extraordinary fight to get there. It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open-sea whaling is booming and a territorial race for the mysterious continent between Norwegian and British-Australian interests is in full swing. Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who's been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Lars's wife, Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with Lars to convince him to take her. Loyalties shift and melt and conflicts increase as they pass through the Southern Ocean and reach the whaling grounds. None of the women is prepared for the reality of meeting the whaling fleet and experiencing firsthand the brutality of the icy world. As they head for the continent itself, the race is on for the first woman to land on Antarctica. None of them expect the outcome and none of them know how they will be changed by their arrival. Based on the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, Jesse Blackadder has captured the drama, danger and magnetic pull of exploring uncharted places in our world and our minds."

"It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open sea whaling is booking and a territorial race for the mysterious continent is in full swing.

Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who's been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Lars's wife, Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with Lars to convince him to take her.

        As they head south through icy waters, the race is on for the first woman to land on Antarctica. None of them expect the outcome and none of them know how they will be changed by their arrival.

        Based on the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, Jesse Blackadder has captured the drama, danger and magnetic pull of exploring uncharted places in our world and our minds."

Previous Mentions:

"It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open-sea whaling is booming and a territorial race for the mysterious continent between Norwegian and British-Australian interests is in full swing. This was the era when Antarctica was closed to women, in spite of hundreds applying to expeditions (including those of Scott, Mawson and Shackleton).

        Determined to learn more about the first women to reach Antarctica, Jesse Blackadder travelled to Norway where she made the exciting discovery that the first woman to reach the Antarctica Peninsula was not an explorer but Ingrid Christensen, a 38-year-old mother who left her six children behind and travelled there on a whaling boat four times in the 1930s with her husband, taking a female friend or two on each trip.

        With this intriguing fact as inspiration, Jesse tells the story of a sea voyage from Cape Town by the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen and three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way onto the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who's been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Lars's wife, Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with Lars to convince him to take her."
—From her website

She has another title due in July: "Stay: The Last Dog in Antarctica." ABC Books (first book of the Amazing Animals Series).
(18 January 2013)
—R. Stephenson
(13 April 2020)

ADVENTURES IN POLAR READING; THE BOOK CULTURES OF HIGH LATITUDES Stam, David H. (New York: The Grolier Club, 2019) [254]pp. Price: $40. ISBN: 9781605830841. Web:

"Adventures in Polar Reading is, in physical form, an embodied curriculum vitæ of Stam's work over these past two decades, arranged so as to bring us along in his venturesome company, and partake of the pleasure of discoveries made along the way. . . . No collection of Arctic or Antarctic books worth its salt -- or, perhaps I should say, worth its ice -- should be without it."
-Arctic Book Review

Based in part on his own naval experience, including duty in Antarctica, and informed by extensive archival and secondary research, David Stam's book examines the printed needs of several polar expeditions, including those of Adolphus Greely in the International Polar Year 1881-83 in northernmost Canada. Stam's study also includes analysis of shipboard- and expedition-based periodicals throughout the so-called Heroic Age of exploration (ca. 1880-1921); a definitive essay on the enduring books of Ernest Shackleton's legendary journey aboard the Endurance; a parallel study of the primarily religious literature distributed as Loan Libraries of the American Seamen's Friend Society; and, finally, an account of the three libraries assembled by Richard Evelyn Byrd for the successive bases at Little America (1929-41). The volume is bookended by chapters that provide an autobiographical account of how Adventures in Polar Reading came to be written and extensive suggestions pointing the way to topics of research that Stam's methodology might enable for other scholars.

12 figures plus 12 decorative illustrations. Designed by Thomas Eykemans and set in Fairfield by Integrated Composition Systems."

List of Illustrations
1. Adventures in Polar Writing:" The Evolution of this Book
2. "Silent Friends"; Books and Reading on Polar Expeditions (David H. Stam and Deirdre C. Stam)
3. Libraries on Polar Expeditions
4. Arctic Survivals: The Restoration of Records Recovered from Lost Polar Expeditions (John F. Dean and David H. Stam)
5. Congering the Past: The Books of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition (1877-1965)
6. Bending Time: The Function of Periodicals in Nineteenth-Centiury Polar Naval Expeditions (David H. Stam and Deirdre C. Stam)
7. New York Times Online: An Historical Experiment
8. The Lord's Librarians: The American Seamen's Friend Society and Their loan Libraries, 1837-1967: An Historical Excursion
9. Byrd's Books: The Antarctic Libraries of Little America, 1928-1941
10. The Enduring Books of Shackleton's Endurance:: A Polar Reading Community at Sea
11. Quo Vadis? What's Next?
Coda: The Power of Print
        Expedition Periodicals: A Chronological List
        The American Seamen's Friend Society Loan Libraries
        Books for the Three Byrd Expeditions
        Books in Shackleton's Cabin aboard Endurance

The result of many years of research and sleuthing; a great addition to the polar canon. Beautifully produced.
—R. Stephenson
(14 April 2020)

SHACKLETON & AN ALBION PRESS: THE STORY OF THE FIRST BOOK PRINTED IN THE ANTARCTIC Fremantle, James (London: St James Press, 2019) 57pp. Light blue titles and designs. Quarter bound with decorative paper-covered boards. Dark blue cloth- covered clamshell box with paper label on the spine. Numerous illustrations, some full-page in color, some tipped in. Web:

An Albion in the Antarctic (St James Park Press, 2019). The story of Aurora Australis, the first book written, printed, illustrated and bound in Antarctica during Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition, 1907-9.

"Printed during the Antarctic winter months on an Albion Press - cast forty years before Aurora Australis was printed on Shackleton's Albion - in Founders 14pt Caslon Old Face, on smooth white Zerkall watermarked paper 145gsm (320 x 245mm). Featuring a relief print frontispiece by Paul Kershaw and numerous colour plates, as well as original Abbey Mills Greenfield watermarked specimen paper. Bound by Roger Grech, with a repeat pattern cover, housed in a cloth covered solander box. (59pp). The edition is limited to 40 numbered copies only, individually numbered in stencil on the Fabriano endpaper. Copies available for pre-order. £750 only."

The Colophon

"This is the THIRD book from the Press, printed by James Freemantle on his Albion Press during the early Antarctic winter months, in 14-pt founders Caslon Old Face on smooth white Zerkall 145 gsm paper, featuring a frontispiece by Paul Kershaw. Of 40 copies, this is numbered in 48-pt Tea-chest on the Fabriano Rustica endpaper."
Bound by Roger Grech, Shipley, Wast Yorkshire.

About the Press

"The ST JAMES PARK PRESS is the private press of James Freemantle, the Press originally situated close to St James's Park in London, from which it took its name.

        Printing by letterpress on an Albion Press from 1869, by J.& R. M. Wood, alongside the only original Stanhope Press from 1810 made by Walker still in private hands, and an Arab Crown Folio from 1906; the Press holds a number of composition types, including Caslon, Centaur, Dante and Joanna, as well as a large range of display and decorated types.

        The primary concern of the Press is the fine printing of illustrated books, by letterpress. There is a focus on utilising wood-engravings or original illustrative work. Occasionally, the Press will agree to print commissioned work on behalf of a publisher or individual.

        Works by the Press have been purchased and can now be viewed at such public institutions as the National Art Library at the V&A, the Tate Library, Yale University Library, and the Bodleian."

Previous Mentions:

James Freemantle, of St James Park Press, e-mails to say: "Its working title is ‘Shackleton & an Albion Press: the story of the first book printed in the Antarctic’, printed letterpress and by hand on an Albion Press by the St James Park Press in a limited edition of less than 50 copies. To be printed in the winter of 2018, exactly 110 years since Aurora Australis was printed on an Albion Press. The edition will contain, amongst other illustrations and photographs, an original leaf of a watermarked Abbey Mills Greenfield paper, the same paper used to print the Aurora Australis."
(15 September 2018)

More details are now available.

UPDATE: James e-mails to say: "An Albion in the Antarctic is well underway, and is primarily awaiting some of the graphic works, including the relief print frontispiece, specially printed photographic inclusions and some commercially printed additions, before it can be sent to the binders. The text, printed letterpress on an Albion Press, is in the process of a re-print as I took the decision to change the paper used to a watermarked Zerkall smooth white. Decisions like these cannot be taken lightly, as it is a huge undertaking to decide to change a paper once printing has already begun and this is the reason for a delay to the originally hoped for publication date. You can also, of course, see various updates to the work on Instagram or on the Instragram link on the St James Park Press website.

…As you will see from what I have stated, the text will hopefully be more comprehensive than any of the articles written about Aurora Australis before, which to my mind rely entirely on transposing excerpts from The Heart of the Antarctic and Antarctic Days and usually add no more investigative work than that. I have purposefully not transposed those, although of course rely on them. An example of the original research work that has been undertaken can best be summed up with the fact that the edition includes a photograph of the press not seen in any other bibliographic article, after its return to the UK, during an exhibition which Caustons, the printing firm, attended.

It seems to me possible that the edition will be ready in June, but this will depend also on the binders and how quickly they can finish their work on the book."
(April 8, 2019)

—R. Stephenson
(13 April 2020)

TOWARD ANTARCTICA Elizabeth Bradfield. (Pasadena, CA: Boreal Press, an imprint of Red Hen Press, 2019) 155pp. Price $19.95. ISBN: 978-1-59709-886-1 Web:

"Poet-naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield's fourth collection, Toward Antarctica, documents and queries her work as a guide on ships in Antarctica, offering an incisive insider's vision that challenges traditional tropes of The Last Continent. Inspired by haibun, a stylistic form of Japanese poetry invented by 17th-century poet, Matsuo Bashō to chronicle his journeys in remote Japan, Bradfield uses photographs, compressed prose, and short poems to examine our relationship to remoteness, discovery, expertise, awe, labor, temporary societies, "pure" landscapes, and tourism's service economy. Antarctica was the focus of Bradfield's Approaching Ice, written before she had set foot on the continent; now Toward Antarctica furthers her investigation with boots on the ground. A complicated love letter, Toward Antarctica offers a unique view of one of the world's most iconic wild places."
—From website.
(12 October 2019)

THE MAN WHO DISCOVERED ANTARCTICA; EDWARD BRANSFIELD EXPLAINED—THE FIRST MAN TO FIND AND CHART THE ANTARCTIC MAINLAND Sheila Bransfield (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Frontline Books, 2019) 318pp, 16 black & white llustrations. Price: £20. ISBN: 978 1 52675 263 5

• Written to coincide with the 200th anniversary of his great discovery on 30 January 2020.
• Research based on the original documents held in the Admiralty and the British Antarctic Survey and Scott Polar Research Institute.
• Corrects many of the myths surrounding Bransfield's life and career. Bransfield Island.
• Bransfield Island, Bransfield Strait, Bransfield Trough, Bransfield Rocks and Mount Bransfield were all named in his honour.
• Written by the person regarded as the foremost authority of the explorer.

Captain Cook claimed the honour of being the first man to sail into the Antarctic Ocean in 1773, which he then circumnavigated the following year. Cook, though, did not see any land, and he declared that there was no such thing as the Southern Continent. Fifty years later, an Irishman who had been impressed into the Royal Navy at the age of eighteen and risen through the ranks to reach the position of master, proved Cook wrong and discovered and charted parts of the shoreline of Antarctica. He also discovered what is now Elephant Island and Clarence Island, claiming them for the British Crown.

Edward Bransfield’s varied naval career included taking part in the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816 onboard the 50-gun warship HMS Severn. Then, in 1817, he was posted to the Royal Navy’s Pacfiic Squadron off Valparaíso in Chile, and it was while serving there that the owner and skipper of an English whaling ship, the Williams, was driven south by adverse winds and discovered what came to be known as the South Shetland Islands where Cook had said there was no land.

Bransfield’s superior officer, Captain Shirreff, decided to investigate this discovery further. He chartered Williams and sent Bransfield with a Master's Mate, two midshipmen and a ship’s surgeon into the Antarctic—and the Irishman sailed into history.

Despite his achievements, and many parts of Antarctica and an Antarctic survey vessel being named after him, as well as a Royal Mail commemorative stamp being issued in his name in 2000, the full story of this remarkable man and his historic journey, have never been told—until now.

Following decades of research, Sheila Bransfield MA, a member of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, has produced the definitive biography of one of Britain’s greatest maritime explorers. The book has been endorsed by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, whose patron the Princess Royal, has written the Foreword.

About the Author
As a young girl, SHEILA BRANSFIELD was intrigued to see the Bransfield name on an Antarctic map and first began to enquire about this in the 1980s. Research began in earnest in 1996 with the first of hundreds of visits to The National Archives. She learned that her great-great grandfather was born in Cork around the same time as Edward Bransfield, but further research has proved difficult. Then, in 1998 she was alerted to the location and poor condition of Edward Bransfield’s grave and began raising funds for its renovation. She visited Antarctica in January 1999 and celebrated an unveiling of the grave in June. Sheila subsequently wrote a number of articles for historical journals and magazines before being accepted by the Greenwich Maritime Institute (University of Greenwich) for a Master of Arts in Maritime History due to her research and publications.
—From the press release.

(12 October 2019)

THE NEWS AT THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: THE PRINT CULTURE OF POLAR EXPLORATION Hester Blum (Durham: Duke Unuiversity Press, April 2019) 328pp, 62 illustrations. Price: $26.95 paper; (cloth: $99.95!) Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0387-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0322-9
You can view a talk by Hester on the subject at

From Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 search for the Northwest Passage to early twentieth-century sprints to the South Pole, polar expeditions produced an extravagant archive of documents that are as varied as they are engaging. As the polar ice sheets melt, fragments of this archive are newly emergent. In The News at the Ends of the Earth Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by polar explorers. Ranging from ship newspapers and messages left in bottles to menus and playbills, polar writing reveals the seamen wrestling with questions of time, space, community, and the environment. Whether chronicling weather patterns or satirically reporting on penguin mischief, this writing provided expedition members with a set of practices to help them survive the perpetual darkness and harshness of polar winters. The extreme climates these explorers experienced is continuous with climate change today. Polar exploration writing, Blum contends, offers strategies for confronting and reckoning with the extreme environment of the present.
—From the website.
I'm looking forward to getting this book but sadly will probably have to settle for the paperback version. Cloth is what I'd like but $99.95!
—R. Stephenson
(28 April 2019)
Previous entry under 'Books Due and Works-in-Progress'

Hester Blum e-mails to say: I "wish to let you know about my forthcoming book on the print culture of polar exploration and polar newspapers:
I will confess that it does have a lot of Arctic material, I trust that the Antarctic material will be of interest to you and others."

The book is due to be issued in April 2019 by Duke University Press. Cloth and paperback editions.

"From Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 search for the Northwest Passage to early twentieth-century sprints to the South Pole, polar expeditions produced an extravagant archive of documents that are as varied as they are engaging. As the polar ice sheets melt, fragments of this archive are newly emergent. In The News at the Ends of the Earth Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by polar explorers. Ranging from ship newspapers and messages left in bottles to menus and playbills, polar writing reveals the seamen wrestling with questions of time, space, community, and the environment. Whether chronicling weather patterns or satirically reporting on penguin mischief, this writing provided expedition members with a set of practices to help them survive the perpetual darkness and harshness of polar winters. The extreme climates these explorers experienced is continuous with climate change today. Polar exploration writing, Blum contends, offers strategies for confronting and reckoning with the extreme environment of the present."

About The Author:
Hester Blum is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, author of The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives, and editor of Turns of Event: Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies in Motion and Horrors of Slavery, or, the American Tars in Tripoli.

(20 November 2018)

See my review of Hester's book from Nimrod.

POLAR EDITION, THE BOOK COLLECTOR Fergus Fleming, Guest Editor. (Cirencester: The Collector Ltd.) 256pp. 21 illustrations. Volume 67, No. 3. Autumn 2018. Price £20 for the copy or £60-90, $125 per year depending on location for an annual subscription (4 issues a year). Web:

1 The Arctic Narratives of John Murray, Publisher for the Admiralty. Anne Peale
2 Frankenstein. Sammy Jay
3 Scribes in Ice and Darkness. Fergus Fleming
4 On the Polar Shelf. Fergus Fleming
5 Oates on Oates. Bryan Oates
6 The Ancient Mariner. Tom Fleming
7 Polar Books in the National Trust. Tim Pye
8 Nobu Shirase. Gautam Hazarika
9 Aurora Australis. Charles Boyle (This appears, with permission, on this site at
10 Cherry. 'The Owner'
11 Richard Kossow: The Markham Interviews (New Series) 22 Sheila Markham.
Plus additional non-polar content.

This is a terrific issue, fun to read with some interesting points. I discovered yet another copy of the Aurora Australis while reading Tim Pye's piece!

—R. Stephenson
(30 December 2018)

WILLIAM SPEIRS BRUCE; FORGOTTEN POLAR HERO Isobel Williams and John Dudeney. (Stroud: Amberley, 2018) 285pp. Cloth. Illustrations, Notes, Bibliography, Index. ISBN: 978-1-4456-8081-1. Price: £20. Web:

"William Speirs Bruce was a Scottish nationalist and naturalist who led the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902–04) as well as participating in or leading many other polar expeditions from 1892 through to 1919, particularly to Spitsbergen. He is now largely forgotten compared with the ‘greats’, Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen. This biography returns to primary sources to provide a new and controversial view of the relationship between Bruce and the then President of the Royal Geographical Society, Sir Clements Markham, and also draws conclusions about Bruce’s personality, in particular suggesting that he was probably on the autistic spectrum.

Bruce was ahead of his time in dreaming of a network of cooperating meteorological stations in the south. He handed over the Laurie Island observatory to the Argentinians. He can be considered the Father of Meteorology in the South Atlantic. He had a lasting impact, publishing his work, under great difficulties, in six scientific volumes. His endeavours in the Arctic were notable for the extensive new surveys he undertook. The British Antarctic Survey is an enduring testament to his scientific vision and has named its laboratory in the South Orkney Islands in his honour. Despite being a strong nationalist—or perhaps because he was—his outlook was internationalist. Bruce was never awarded the Polar Medal; this book explains why."
—From the website.

1 The Early Life of a Naturalist
2 The First Visit to Antarctica, the Dundee Expedition on Balaena
3 The Ben Nevis Observatory
4 The Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition to Franz Josef Land
5 Novaya Zemlya, the Barents Sea and Spitsbergen
6 Preparations for the Scotia Expedition
7 The Scotia Expedition, 1902-1904
8 The Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory
9 The Impact of the First World War on Bruce
10 The Arctic: The Scottish Spitsbergen Syndicate
11 Bruce's Final Illness and Death: Reflections on His Life
Appendix 1 Captain Thomas Robertson, 1855-1918
Appendix 2 Excerpts from The Log of the Scotia by William Speirs Bruce1
Appendix 3 Plans for a Trans-Antarctic Journey
Appendix 4 Bruce and the Polar Medal
Appendix 5 Attempt by Bruce to Lease the South Sandwich Islands
Appendix 6 Bruce and the Patron's Medal
Appendix 7 An Insight into Bruce's Character
Appendix 8 The Bruce Memorial Medal Acknowledgements
Isobel Williams is a retired medical consultant physician who has gone on to become a widely respected author, speaker and lecturer on polar matters. Her work includes biographies of Edward Wilson and Edgar Evans. She lectures regularly on Shackleton, Wilson, Edgar Evans, Bruce, Mawson and on Antarctic subjects and has published papers on these great men.

John Dudeney spent forty years as a research scientist and then as the Deputy Director of the British Antarctic Survey. He travelled to Antarctica often and and spent two winters there in the late 1960s. In retirement he has become engaged in research on the political history of Antarctica from the 1880s through to the present day. He has published several papers in recent years that have looked at myths that surround the British explorers of the heroic age, with emphasis on Shackleton and Bruce. He lectures widely on Antarctic matters, including annual visits to Antarctic as a historian/guide.

Isobel e-mails to sat "that Bruce is to be released in The States in September." No mention of the publisher.
—R. Stephenson
(26 August 2018)

PRIESTLEY'S PROGRESS: THE LIFE OF SIR RAYMOND PRIESTLEY, ANTARCTIC EXPLORER, SCIENTIST, SOLDIER, ACADEMICIAN Mike Bullock. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2017) 197pp. Paperback. 10 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN: 9780786478057. Price: $39.95. Web:

"This first ever biography of Antarctic explorer Sir Raymond Priestley (1886–1974) covers his full (at times life-threatening) involvement with Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907–1909 Nimrod Expedition and Robert Scott’s 1910–1913 Terra Nova Expedition. Priestley’s service with the British 46th Division during World War I won him the Military Cross for gallantry.
After the war, he played a leading role in establishing the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. He was later appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne and then of the University of Birmingham and also helped establish the University of the West Indies. He received a knighthood for his services to education.
During retirement—a misnomer in his case—he went with the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Yacht Britannia as an Antarctic expert and joined the American Deep Freeze IV Expedition during his tenure directing the British Antarctic Survey. Despite the demands of his career, Priestley remained an involved family man throughout. "
—From the website.

Acknowledgments ix Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. The Priestley Family in Tewkesbury—Early Days 7
2. University College, Bristol 11
3. Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition 15
4. Between Expeditions 38
5. Scott's Terra Nova Expedition—The Northern Party 46
6. The First World War—The British Army Signal Service 58
7. Cambridge University—Scott Polar Research Institute 75
8. Vice-Chancellor—Melbourne University 82
9. Vice-Chancellor—Birmingham University 92
10. The Commission for Higher Education in the Colonies 115
11. Acting Director—Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey 123
12. West Antarctica on the RY Britannia 127
13. American Deep Freeze IV Expedition 145
14. President, Royal Geographical Society 161
15. Along the Way 166
16. Later Life 170
Appendix I. 46th (North Midland) Division During the Hundred Days 177
Appendix II. The 1907-1909 British Antarctic Expedition 180
Appendix III. The McMurdo Sound Region 181
Appendix IV. The 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition 183
Chapter Notes 185
Bibliography 189
Index 193
Priestley was always at the top of my list for Antarcticans that deserved and had yet to have a biography. So I applaud Mike (who I bumped into several times at SPRI and the RGS when he was working on this) for taking on the task. There's a lot of useful and interesting information here particularly on his non-Antarctic activities which I didn't know much about. As with many books today, a copy editor appears to have been absent. What I consider the most often misspelled word in the Antarctic lexicon—Lyttelton, the port of Christchurch, continually appears as Lyttleton. Such things aside the book is a useful addition to Antarctic literature.
—R. Stephenson
(16 January 2018)

LESSONS FROM THE ARCTIC: HOW ROALD AMUNDSEN WON THE RACE TO THE SOUTH POLE Geir O. Kløver. (Oslo: The Fram Museum, 2017.) 584pp. ISBN: 978-82-82 35-085-3. Price: NOK349. Web:

Lessons from the Arctic examines the often raised subject of an Amundsen vs. Scott race to the Pole. It's a hefty hardcover book in an 8x8 inch format. Many, many images, many of which will be new to most readers.

"How Roald Amundsen won the race to the South Pole through meticulous planning and preparations over many years. This new book reveals his ability to foresee the challenges ahead and change plans when new factors came into play. It presents his well-qualified team members and his hard-earned lessons from the Arctic."
—From the website.

The Man who Stole the Pole
The Belgica Expedition
The Gjøa Expedition
Lessons from the Arctic
The Next Expedition
    The Crew
    The Dogs
    The Final Preparations
    Kristiana - Bergen - Kristiansand
The Journey to Antarctica
The Bay of Whales
    The meeting with the Terra Nova
Settling in for the Winter
    The Preparation for the Southern Journey
    The First Attempt
The Southern Journey
    The South Pole
    The Return Journey
    Scott's Southern Journey
Amundsen Day by Day
Scott and the Terra Nova Expedition
Lessons from the Arctic—Revisited
    Amundsen's Dogs
    Scott's Motor Sledges
    Scott's Ponies
    Scott's Dogs
    Amundsen's Maps
"This book attempts to explain how Roald Amundsen won the race to the South Pole. It contains information and original photos gleaned from his expeditions and meticulous planning and preparations over many years. It reveals his ability to foresee the challenges ahead and change plans when new factors came into play, and it presents his well-qualified team members and his hardearned lessons from the Arctic. Luck is certainly a factor when skiing 3000 km through some of the coldest and toughest terrain on Earth, but as you will see, luck had very little to do with Amundsen's success.

Included in this book is a detailed breakdown of Amundsen's and Robert Falcon Scott's southern journeys day by day. It also has chapters on Amundsen's and Scott's chosen methods of transport: dogs, ponies and motor-sledges.

The book is printed in colour and contains more than 600 photos, maps and illustrations, many never seen before. The many quotes from Amundsen's crew members' diaries from the Northwest Passage and the South Pole Expedition have never previously appeared in English.
Source: Dustjacket blurb
(16 January 2018)

WHEN YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT; EXTREME DECISION MAKING LESSONS FROM THE ANTARCTIC Brad Borkan & David Hirzel. (Pacifica, CA: Terra Nova Press, 2017.) 205pp. Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-945312-05-2. $14.99/&$163;12.99. Web:

"When Your Life Depends On It is a self-help, adventure book based on the harrowing, epic life-and-death decisions made by early the Antarctic explorers Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson during the heroic era of exploration."
    During the most trying circumstances imaginable, very few men died. Why?
    By placing YOU in their life and death situations, the authors ask you how YOU might have responded.
    Why read this book? According to Dr. David M. Wilson, great nephew of Antarctic explorer and scientist Dr. Edward Wilson:

"This book is a page-turner with true stories that will sear you to the depth of your soul. It brings to life a time when ordinary people faced extraordinary challenges as they pushed forward the boundaries of human knowledge against powerful forces in a hostile environment. The stories and the decision making lessons derived from them will stay with you for the rest of your life."
    This book is a direct result of the South Pole-sium v2.
    The authors, Brad Borkan and David Hirzel, met for the first time at the South Pole-sium in Scotland in May 2015. At that event Brad and David brainstormed writing a book for a non-polar audience which both introduced the heroic age stories to a wider public, and to show that the decision making techniques used by the early explorers can help modern people make better decisions.
    The book launches in January 2017, and will be available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.
    The authors are greatly honoured to have had David Wilson write the Foreword for the book. Valuable feedback on drafts of the book came from some of the many Antarctic historians who were at the South Pole-sium including Rob Stephenson, Bob Headland, Kevin Kenny, Judy Skelton, Michael Smith, and David Wilson.

Website for the book:"

—Adapted from a publicity flyer.
—R. Stephenson
(1 January 2017)

ANTARCTIC EXPLORER AND WAR HERO; THE MAN WHO FOUND CAPTAIN SCOTT. SURGEON CAPTAIN EDWARD LEICESTER ATKINSON… Michael C. Tarver. (Brixham, Devon: Pendragon Maritime Publications, 2015.) 176pp. ISBN: 978-09552208-1-4. Price unknown. Web:

From the publisher's website:

"This is a story of a Royal Naval surgeon who took part in the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN. Surgeon Atkinson was one of sixteen men who set out towards the South Pole from which Scott and his four companions failed to return. Much of the responsibility for the aftermath of the expedition and that fateful return, fell on Atkinson as the senior naval officer left in command who led the search to find the bodies. These events were closely followed by the Great War, 1914-1918, in which Atkinson went on to serve and was severely wounded. It is a story of crisis, adventure, grit and determination shown in Antarctica and later during the Great War, by a man determined to loyally serve his country."

(2 September 2015)
CAPTAIN SCOTT: ICY DECEITS AND UNTOLD REALITIES Krzysztof Sienicki. (Berlin: Open Academic Press, 2016.) 778pp, 8vo. Numerous figures, references, maps and tables. ISBN 978-83-944520-0-1. £67.98, $94.31, €86.27 (from the dust jacket).

What appears below was sent to me by the publisher.

"Historical descriptions attempting to find a reason for Captain Scott and his companions deaths were despite eloquence of presentation unable to find the actual cause of the disaster. While presenting Captain Scott's journey to the South Pole, the authors entirely neglected (ignored) fundamental (basic) issues of its logistics. In my book I am delivering my verdict from digitizing the logistics of the South Pole journey and the weather conditions reported by Captain Scott and the shore party at Cape Evans. Based on that and subsequent analysis an entirely new insight has emerged on all aspects of the journey and ultimate deaths of Captain Scott's party. This insight vitally challenges all previous scholarly work on the fate of Captain Scott's party.

By digitizing Captain Scott's journey to the South Pole the author showed that all previously assumed causes of the disaster were insignificant as compared to the psychological collapse of the expedition due to losing the race to Captain Amundsen's team.

This expertly written book is nothing less than a daring challenge to the prevailing views of Captain Robert F. Scott's journey to the South Pole and consequent disaster. Borrowing from various scientific disciplines, Krzysztof Sienicki lucidly argues against each of the presumed causes of Captain Scott and his companions' deaths. In particular, he demolishes the notions of extreme low temperatures, ferocious winds, and food/fuel shortages as the main causes of the disaster. Using neural network computer simulations he proves that the Super-extreme Cold Snap, Never Ending Gale, and food/fuel scarcity never occurred. By eliminating the alleged causes of the disaster the author provides data and arguments that the deaths (Scott, Wilson, and Bowers) were a matter of choice rather than fate. The choice was made long be- fore there was an actual end of food/fuel and long before the end of the physical strength needed to reach delusive salvation at One Ton Depôt."

List of Figures
List of Tables and Schemes
List of Art Works and Illustrations
List of Maps Author's Note Acknowledgements


1. General Introduction to the Earth Air Circulation
     1.1 Early Development of Atmospheric Circulation Knowledge
     1.2 Importance of Polar Meteorology
     1.3 Meteorology of the Ross Ice Shelf and the McMurdo Sound
     1.4 Self-organized Criticality Wind Regime over the Antarctica
     1.5 Meteorological Games - False Charges Against Lt Charles W. R. Royds
     1.6 Synopsis
2. Analysis of the Weather Account During the Terra Nova Expedition
     2.1 Captain Scott Journals
     2.2 Leonard Huxley Adjustment of First Edition of Captain Scott Journals
     2.3 Expedition Member's Accounts and Descriptions
     2.4 Synopsis
3 Dr George C. Simpson's - Weather and Climate Tantamount
     3.1 Weather vs. Climate
          3.1.1 Daily and Annual Variation of Temperature
          3.1.2 Ubiquitous Friction
     3.2 How Cold Can it Get on the Barrier?
     3.3 MCMXII
     3.4 The Never Ending Gale or Blizzard
     3.5 Synopsis
4 Dr Solomon's Fabrication of Meteorological Data, Fallacious Analysis, and Temperature Mania
     4.1 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
          4.1.1 Temperature – The Coldest March of 1912
          4.1.2 Wind Data Dragging
     4.2 The Coldest March – Something out of Nothing
          4.2.1 Dr Solomon – Weather and Climate Tantamount
          4.2.2 Dr Solomon's Fabrication of Meteorological Data
          4.2.3 Dr Solomon Nullifies Captain Scott's Responsibility
          4.2.4 Dr Solomon Lack of Scientific Methods of Analysis
     4.3 Dr Solomon's Hoax Epiphany - Something out of Nothing
     4.4 Biased Perception of Captain Scott as a Scientist
     4.5 Temperature Mania
     4.6 Dr Solomon at the Royal Society – Note Added in Proof
     4.7 Synopsis
5 Historical Scrutiny of Meteorological Record of Terra Nova Expedition
     5.1 Huntford's The Last Place on Earth
     5.2 Sir Fiennes Faithful Enthusiasm
     5.3 Barczewski, Jones, and Crane
     5.4 Synopsis
6 Meteorological Data and Weather Forecasting
     6.1 Sources of Meteorological Data
          6.1.1 The Ross Island Historical Weather Stations
          6.1.2 Sledging Parties' Weather Records
          6.1.3 The Ross Island Modern Weather Data
          6.1.4 The Ross Ice Shelf Automated Weather Stations
     6.2 Time
     6.3 Historical Meteorological Tools and Measurement Methods
          6.3.1 Temperature
          6.3.2 Wind Velocity and Direction
     6.4 Modern Meteorological Tools and Measurement Methods
     6.5 Historical and Modern Data Acquisition
     6.6 Weather Forecasting
          6.6.1 God and the Arrogant Humans
          6.6.2 Nansen's Connection
          6.6.3 Artificial Neural Network
          6.6.4 The Back-propagation ANN Algorithm
     6.7 Synopsis
7 February 27th through March 27th, 1912 - Extreme Cold Snap?
     7.1 Extreme Cold Snap Hypotheses
     7.2 Orography-driven Weather at the Ross Ice Shelf
     7.3 Artificial Neural Network Development and Testing
     7.4 The Extreme Cold Snap
          7.4.1 Captain Scott Temperature Record Retrodiction
          7.4.2 Inaccuracy of Retrodiction Method
          7.4.3 Location Differences
      Schwerdtfeger vs. Elaine Temperature Gradient
      McMurdo vs. Cape Evans Temperature Gradient
          7.4.4 Thermometers Malfunction
          7.4.5 Global Warming
          7.4.6 El Niño Teleconnection
     7.5 Captain Scott Temperature Data Fabrication
     7.6 Particulars of Temperature Data Differences
     7.7 Synopsis
8 March 21st through 29th, 1912 - Never Ending Gale?
     8.1 Nature of Near Surface Winds in Antarctica
     8.2 The Never Ending Gale
     8.3 Synopsis
     8.4 Appendix to Chapter 8 - Scaling Parameters of Wind in Antarctica
9 Food, Fuel and Depôts - An Antarctica Menu
     9.1 The 144-Days Plan and Inward Journey
     9.2 Outward Journey
     9.3 Captain Scott's Food Supply and Glossopteris Indica
     9.4 Food Shortages on the Barrier
     9.5 Lt Shackleton's Shadow
     9.6 Synopsis
     9.7 Appendix to Sub-section 9.3
10 1912 – Insidious and Tacit Mutiny in Antarctica
     10.1 Dr George C. Simpson
     10.2 Cecil H. Meares
     10.3 Dr Edward L. Atkinson
     10.4 Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Dr Atkinson
     10.5 Historical Scrutiny
          10.5.1 Huntford's Blunder
          10.5.2 Thoughtless History Re-writing
     10.6 The 11 Miles
          10.6.1 The Myth
          10.6.2 Tacit Cover-up: How 22 Became 11
     10.7 Synopsis
     10.8 Appendix to Chapter
          10 10.8.1 IV. - Instructions for Dog Teams
          10.8.2 II. - Instructions to Dr G. C. Simpson
11 Captain Robert F. Scott: An Apology
     11.1 The Causes of the Disaster - Rebuttal
          11.1.1 The Loss of Ponies in March 1911
          11.1.2 (79°28-1/2'S, 170°E)
          11.1.3 Complexity of Transportation Methods
          11.1.4 Misuse of the Dog Team
          11.1.5 Navigation and Navigation Methods
          11.1.6 Gale at 83°S
          11.1.7 Soft Snow at Beardmore Glacier
          11.1.8 The Fifth Man
          11.1.9 Fuel Leakage
          11.1.10 Food Shortages on the Barrier
          11.1.11 Collecting and Hauling Geological Specimens
          11.1.12 Vitamin Deficiency
          11.1.13 Neglecting the Sick
          11.1.14 Route Marking and Depot
          11.1.15 Laying Summary
     11.2 The Two Black Flags Axiology
     11.3 Surprise which did not Await Captain Scott on the Barrier
          11.3.1 No Food Shortage
          11.3.2 No Fuel Shortage
          11.3.3 No Extreme Cold Snap
               11.3.4 No Never Ending Gale
               11.3.5 Captain Scott Meteorological Data Fabrications
          11.3.6 Post-historians Weather Data Fabrications
     11.4 Synopsis
12 Etiology of Captain Robert F. Scott Death
     12.1 Captain Scott Deus ex Machina
          12.1.1 Utilitarianism Crucible
          12.1.2 Tenable Scientific Tilt
     12.2 Captain Scott "Message to the Public": Submission to Nature, Nation, and Deity?
     12.3 Resurrection of Captain Scott's Deus ex Machina
     12.4 Denouement - I Have a Tale to Tell
          12.4.1 Scientific and Circumstantial Evidence of Altruistic Suicide
          12.4.2 Was Captain Scott a Scientist?
     12.5 Synopsis
          12.6 Appendix to Chapter 12 and Sub-section 12.2.1
          12.7 Appendix to Chapter 12 and Sub-section 12.3
13 Synopsis - Never Again
14 Appendixes
     14.1 Appendix 1 - Geographical Locations
     14.2 Appendix 2 - Errors and Fallacies in Drs Solomon and Stearns Paper On the Role of the Weather in the Deaths of R. F. Scott and his Companions
     14.3 Appendix 3 - Data Dragging and Fabrication in Dr Solomon's Book The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition
     14.4 Appendix 4 - The Whistleblower
Notes and References

I have now received a copy of the book, ordered via It's big and heavy. There's been a lot of buzz about it. It's now sitting with a dozen or more other books to be read so it may be awhile—one could make an Oates joke here.
—R. Stephenson
(1 January 2017)
Captain Tom Woodfield (Dunbeath, Scotland: Whittles Publishing Ltd., 2016) 202pp. £18.99/$25.95. Paperback. ISBN 978-1-84995-166-1. Web:
Subtitled "a reminiscence of voyaging for 20 years to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic."

From the publisher's website:

• A dramatic story of true endeavour and exploration in the footsteps of the early pioneers
• Navigating Antarctic seas for 20 years supporting British scientific stations, the author explored and surveyed the uncharted, ice-filled waters in often ferocious weather
• Descriptions of the majestic scenery and wildlife plus historical tales of exploration and seamanship

This is an account of polar exploration, seamanship and human endeavour that is rarely found in this modern age and I am sure you will enjoy reading it.
Extract from Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal.

Captain Woodfield made 20 seasonal voyages to the Antarctic on three research ships between 1955 and 1974. Starting as a Junior Deck Officer he worked for The Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey which in 1964 became the British Antarctic Survey. He played a paramount role in the gradual change from using under-powered and poorly-equipped ships to the professionally-managed and sophisticated vessels of his last command.

The arts of exploration and survival during his early years in this majestic but unforgiving continent are described as attempts were made to establish research stations, support science, and survey in totally uncharted, ice-filled waters amidst often ferocious weather. Dramatic stories are featured such as the near loss of a ship in pack ice, the stranding of another in hurricane force winds and the collapse of an ice-cliff onto the vessel.

The pioneers of Antarctic exploration, the area's history, the hardships and incredible achievements of those original seafarers are described. Yet polar navigation during the author's years was not without peril and the near loss in ice of his first ship, the RRS Shackleton, the demise of her Master, and his ill-judged replacement and consequent dramas are fully told.

After a voyage of enormous responsibility, aged just 25, he transferred to the RRS John Biscoe as Chief Officer under a fine seaman but difficult disciplinarian. The highs and lows of their relationship are told as are vivid descriptions of predicaments they overcame such as being blown ashore in hurricane force winds and beset and crushed in pack ice. The first ventures of the John Biscoe into the Weddell Sea are recounted with information on the nature and movement of ice, its interrelationship with weather, and the methods of navigation in ice before the age of satellites.

Appointed to command the RRS Bransfield, he recounts her extraordinary maiden voyage when it was feared she would split in two. The battle with a horrendous storm at the end of his last voyage is fully described together with his final sentimental return to the Falklands.

This book has recently arrived and I look forward to reading it. The period of the author's reminiscences is 1955-74, a time of rapid change in the Antarctic.
—R. Stephenson
(12 July 2016)
Ann Strathie, (Stroud: the History Press, 2015) 224pp. £18.99. Hardback. Web: ISBN 978-0-7509-6178-3.

Anne Strathie emails: "To give you an idea of the new book, From Ice Floes to Battlefields: Scott's 'Antarctics' in the First World War follows Harry Pennell and others through the war. I've deliberately concentrated on the less well known/documented expedition members, including Campbell (Siege of Antwerp and North Russia campaign), Meares (Ypres), Gran (RNAS and RFC) and Nelson (Gallipoli and Somme), interspersed with chapters covering groups of men (scientists, naval officers, Ponting, etc.). Four died in the war (Pennell, Rennick, Cheetham and New Zealander Jim Dennistoun), but a lot of others were injured or lost brothers. There's also walk-on parts for Birdie Bowers' sister (went on a troop-ship to nurse in Serbia), George Wyatt (the London agent), Rupert Brooke (who shared a tent with and took a photo of Edward Nelson on the way to Gallipoli), J. M. Barrie, Prime Minister's son Arthur Asquith and, as they say, 'many more'. As I had access to Pennell's journals, I've been able to cover the mysterious death (in New Zealand) of Terra Nova stoker Robert Brissenden in more detail than has been done before. The book is due out in September this year."
(25 March 2015)

Published 7 September 2015.


• Acknowledgements
• Introduction
• Prologue
1. Southward Ho!
2. Battling through the Pack
3. Breaking News—and a Mysterious Death
4. Final Journeys
5. From Oamaru to Awliscombe
6. Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New
7. From Arctic to Antwerp
8. 'Antarctics' on the Seven Seas
9. Cavalry Officers, Chateaux and Censors
10. Your Country Needs You!
11. From Blandford Camp to Byzantium
12. Crossing Paths and Keeping in Touch
13. The 'Big Show'—and a Great Loss
14. Deaths on the Western Front
15. Of Scientists, Sailors and Shackleton
16. A Norwegian 'Warbird' Keeps his Promise
17. Northward Ho!
18. Moving On
• Epilogue

"February 1912: Harry Pennell and his Terra Nova shipmates brave storms and ice to bring supplies to Antarctica. They hope to celebrate Captain Scott's conquest of the South Pole, but are forced by ice to return north before Scott's party returns. In New Zealand a reporter tells them that Roald Amundsen reached the Pole first. Returning to Antarctica in early 1913, they learn that Scott's party reached the Pole but died on the ice shelf. Back in Britain memorial services, medal ceremonies, weddings and resumed careers are abruptly interrupted by the First World War. Fit and able men, Scott's 'Antarctics' trade one adventure for another. By 1919 Scott's 'Antarctics' have fought at Antwerp, the Western Front, Gallipoli, in the Channel, at Jutland and in Arctic Russia. They serve on horseback, in trenches, on battleships and hospital ships, in armoured cars and flimsy aircraft; their brothers-in-arms include a prime minister's son and poet Rupert Brooke. As in Antarctica, life is challenging and dangerous. As on the ice, not all survive. 'Strathie's story of these remarkably talented adventurers is fascinating, as is the evidence that many of these men remained in touch during the war, although talk of the frozen continent gave way to their latest war adventures. Her book is well written, excellently illustrated … and recommended to all those who want to know more about Scott's Antarctic survivors and their Great War Deeds.' —'Stephen Chambers, Gallipoli Magazine 2016"
—From the publishers website
ANTARCTICA; MUSIC, SOUNDS AND CULTURAL CONNECTIONS Bernadette Hince, Rupert Summerson, editors (Canberra: Australian University Press, 2015) 229pp. AUD33.00. Paperback. Web: ISBN 9781925022285 (Print version) ISBN 9781925022292 (Online version).
The online version is free of charge. You can view the book online or download pdfs of the entire book or individual chapters.

"This is the first book whose subject is the music, sounds and silences of Antarctica.
From 2011 until 2014, Australia marked its long-standing connection with Antarctica by celebrating the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.
The icy continent, with its extremes of climate and environment and unique soundscapes, offers great potential for creative achievements in the world of music and sound. This book demonstrates the intellectual and creative engagement of artists, musicians, scientists and writers. Consciousness of sounds—in particular, musical ones—has not been at the forefront of our aims in polar endeavours, but listening to and appreciating them has been as important there as elsewhere."
—From the ANU Press website.

• Preliminary pages
• Contents
• Preface: Music and Antarctica - Arnan Wiesel
1. Introduction: Listening to Antarctica - Tom Griffiths
2. Mawson's musings and Morse code: Antarctic silence at the end of the 'Heroic Era', and how it was lost - Mark Pharaoh
3. Thulia: a Tale of the Antarctic (1843): The earliest Antarctic poem and its musical setting - Elizabeth Truswell
4. Nankyoku no kyoku: The cultural life of the Shirase Antarctic Expedition 1910-12 - Rupert Summerson
5. The first published music from Antarctica? Captain Doorly's piano and its roots in older traditions of polar exploration and an imperial guilty conscience - Jeff Brownrigg
6. Eating the audience - Bernadette Hince
7. Musical adventures in Antarctica - Alice Giles
8. Mentions of music in the Antarctic diaries of Cecil T Madigan - Arnan Wiesel
9. Body of ice: The movement of Antarctic ice through dance - Christina Evans
10. The poetry of Antarctic sound and the sound of Antarctic poetry - Elizabeth Leane
11. Playing Antarctica: Making music with natural objects and sounds from the Antarctic Peninsula - Cheryl E Leonard
12. And I may be some time… - Craig Cormick
13. The nature of sound and the sound of Nature - Philip Samartzis
14. Kiwis on ice: Defining the ways in which the New Zealand identity is reflected in the Antarctic-inspired works of four New Zealand composers - Patrick Shepherd
15. Antarctica: 'Surround Sound' - Stephen Nicol
16. Frozen voices: Women, silence and Antarctica - Jesse Blackadder
17. Frames of silence: Some descriptions of the sounds of Antarctica - Stephen Martin
18. Made and played in Antarctica: People's music in a far-flung place - Bruce Watson
19. 'A Vast Scale: Evocations of Antarctica' - Rupert Summerson and Claire Beynon
• Index
This collection includes writings by most of the better known Australian Antarcticans and I look forward to immersing myself in it as soon as I can. Check back later!

—R. Stephenson
(16 January 2016)

MERTZ & I… THE ANTARCTIC DIARY OF BELGRAVE EDWARD SUTTON NINNIS edited by Allan Mornement & Beau Riffenburgh. (Norwich: The Erskine Press, 2014) 448pp. £35.00. ISBN: 978-1-85297-116-8.

Belgrave Ninnis was a soldier whose father had served on George Nares 1875-76 arctic expedition. This may have inspired him to join Scott's Terra Nova expedition but without success. However he did sign on with Mawson on the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. As the dust jacket notes "Ninnis forged a strong bond with Xavier Mertz," the Swiss ski expert also on the expedition. As is well known, both died as Mawson's Far Eastern Party struggled back to the base at Commonwealth Bay, Ninnis the first when he, his sledge, dogs and supplies fell down a crevasse, followed by Mertz three weeks later who succumbed to vitamin A poisoning.

The diary covers the period from March 17, 1908 to November 9, 1912, and takes up the lion's share of the book, more than 400 pages. There is a short Preface, a short Introduction and a short Epilogue but mostly it's the diary. At the end there are Notes and a Bibliography but no index. The photographs appearing in the text are often dark and too small. There is a section of modern photographs, some in color, of Commonwealth Bay and of the recently built replica of Mawson's hut that now stands in Hobart, the first such accurate and full size replica of any historic Antarctic hut.
(27 September 2015)

SHACKLETON'S HEROES; THE EPIC STORY OF THE MEN WHO KEPT THE ENDURANCE EXPEDITION ALIVE Wilson McOrist (London: The Robson Press, 2015) 362pp. £20. ISBN: 978-1849548151.

The less familiar component of the Endurance expedition was what is generally referred to as the 'Ross Sea Party.' (McOrist unaccountably insists on referring to it as the Mount Hope Party—the location of the furthest south depot.) Its sole job was to lay a string of depots from the Ross Sea south to the foot of the Beardmore Glacier. These would allow Shackleton and his team to pass over the South Pole and continue on their transantarctic journey, picking up the supplies as they went. How disappointing it must have been for the four survivors of the original six to later learn that their efforts against great odds were all in vain as Shackleton not only never got to make use of the supplies much less ever getting to step on the continent! Two reasonably recent books focused on the same subject: Polar Castaways (Richard McElrea and David Harrowfield, 2004) and The Lost Men (Kelly Tyler-Lewis, 2006). The latter has been particularly well received. How does McOrist's effort differ?

Unlike the others the book is essentially the diary entries of the six men arranged chronologically and interspersed with the author's comments and explanations. It's preceded by an Introduction by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Following are short biographies of each of the six accompanied by rather nice painted portraits done by McOrist's sister. (The book seems to be somewhat of a family affair: the maps were drawn by the author's brother.) The book concludes with some summary observations, a Postscript by polar historian David Harrowfield, a Timeline (11 November 1914 - 10 January 1917), Sources and Endnotes. There is no index. The eight pages of color and black & white photographs nicely complement the story.
(27 September 2015)

Earlier Mentions:
"My book, Shackleton's Heroes, has been accepted by Robson Press in the UK, for publication about March-May next year."
(28 September 2014)

Wilson e-mails to say "My book is finished. My literary agent said she liked it. And she tells me a publisher also likes it. Publication date has not been set yet though, and may be in mid-2015.
The book is now titled "Shackleton's Heroes". You may remember that the focus on my book is to have the Mount Hope Party story told, through the diaries of the six members of that party. Both Sir Ralph Fiennes and Dr. David Harrowfield are very pleased with my final manuscript. Sir Ranulph Fiennes has provided the Foreword and he states, in part:
I believe the diaries of the Mount Hope Party are an Antarctic literary treasure. I congratulate Wilson McOrist for not only bringing them out of obscurity but for weaving them together so they tell the fascinating but true and definitive story of the Mount Hope Party.
David Harrowfield has written a postscript which includes these comments:
Wilson's book is also of significance as for the first time the sledging accomplishment of the men who ensured the final depot was laid for Shackleton beside Mt. Hope and is told through their written accounts. One can feel very close to each of them. The words of these young men convey hardship and suffering, along with times of sadness and perhaps contentment, in a way that this aspect of the expedition is now brought to life.
(7 February 2014)

UPDATE: The publication date is now set for 28 March 2015. Noted as 416 pages (it is likely to be something different; publishers never seem to get the number of pages correct even after the book has been issued).The blurb appearing on the publisher's website says:
"Shackleton's Heroes is a genuine treasure of Antarctic history, and an almost unbelievable tale of real heroes who risked themselves for the lives of others. It tells the extraordinary story of how a small party of men, against almost insurmountable obstacles, put down vital food depots on the Great Ice Barrier for Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
Their efforts to help each other survive comprise some of the most incredible feats of heroism in the history of polar exploration, which until now have been entirely overshadowed by the legendary feat of Shackleton on the other side of the continent after the sinking of the Endurance. The complete story is revealed here for the first time, through the diaries of these forgotten men, written out on the ice and at their base camp. We can experience their pain and suffering through their own words, 100 years after the original expedition began.
With a foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Shackleton's Heroes is an adventure story of the highest calibre, told through the voices of the men who completed an almost impossible task in horrific conditions."
—R. Stephenson
(27 September 2015)

ERNEST SHACKLETON Beau Riffenburgh (Cambridge: Scott Polar Research Institute, 2014) 32pp. £7.95. £7.99. ISBN: 978-0-901021-10-6. Paperback.

This is the newest title in the 'Polar Profiles • Explorers' series issued by The Polar Museum at SPRI. These are excellent brief and affordable introductions to the subject at hand. Quite nicely designed with well-drawn route maps of, in this case, Shackleton's Nimrod and Endurance expeditions including the Ross Sea Party. Others in the series: The British Graham Land Expedition 1934-37 (Bryan Lintott, 2010) and three others by Beau Riffenburgh: Douglas Mawson (2010), Roald Amundsen (2010), and Scott's Last Expedition (2011). Perfect companions on a 20-minute commute.
(27 September 2015)

DUMONT d'URVILLE Edward Duyker. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2014. 671pp. NZ$70. ISBN 978-1-877578-70-0. Web:

A very hefty book, beautifully produced with excellent images and maps, both presented at a high standard. Despite not having read it yet I'm sure this will be the definitive biography for years to come.

List of Illustrations
List of maps
PART I: ' ... a sort of reputation'
     The lycee & the sea
     Aphrodite & the isles
     The Bosphorus & beyond
     Paris & plans
     La Coquille
     The Pacific
     New South Wales
     New Zealand
     Completing the circle
PART II: ' ... the progress of geography'
     New Holland
     Return to New Zealand
     III winds in Tonga
     Any other captain would probably have hesitated
     Van Diemen's Land
"Explorer Jules-Sébastien-César Dumont d'Urville (1790-1842) is sometimes called France's Captain Cook. Born less than a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, he lived through turbulent times. He was an erudite polymath: a maritime explorer fascinated by botany, entomology, ethnography and the diverse languages of the world. As a young ensign he was decorated for his pivotal part in France's acquisition of the famous Vénus de Milo.
D'Urville's voyages and writings meshed with an emergent French colonial impulse in the Pacific. In this magnificent biography Edward Duyker reveals that D'Urville had secret orders to search for the site for a potential French penal colony in Australia. He also effectively helped to precipitate pre-emptive British settlement on several parts of the Australian coast. D'Urville visited New Zealand in 1824, 1827 and 1840. This wide-ranging survey examines his scientific contribution, including the plants and animals he collected, and his conceptualisation of the peoples of the Pacific: it was he who first coined the terms Melanesia and Micronesia.
D'Urville helped to confirm the fate of the missing French explorer Lapérouse, took Charles X into exile after the Revolution of 1830, and crowned his navigational achievements with two pioneering Antarctic descents. Edward Duyker has used primary documents that have long been overlooked by other historians. He dispels many myths and errors about this daring explorer of the age of sail and offers his readers grand adventure and surprising drama and pathos.

Edward Duyker was born in Melbourne to a Dutch father and a Mauritian mother. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1981 before working as an intelligence officer with the Department of Defence. In 1984 he settled in Sydney as an independent historian, and also served as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Mauritius in New South Wales 1996-2002.
Edward Duyker has published 17 books, many dealing with early Australian, New Zealand and Pacific exploration and natural science. These include Citizen Labillardière (2003), a biography of the naturalist Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière, which won the NSW Premier's General History Prize in 2004; and François Péron (2006), which won the Frank Broeze Maritime History Prize in 2007. In 2000 Duyker was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government. He was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian government in 2003 and the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of French Studies at the University of Sydney. He is married with two sons and is now a grandfather."
—From the publisher's website
—R. Stephenson
(6 December 2014)

This is one ponderous book! It weighs in at 4 lbs. 4 oz. And monumental as well: Besides the 470 pages of text, there are 65 color and black & white illustrations, 10 maps, a seven-page Appendix (on d'Urville's library!), seven pages of Acknowledgements, 82 pages of Notes, a seven-page Glossary, 40 pages of Archival, Bibliographic & Periodical Sources, and a 71 page index. Exhausted yet? This is not a book you're likely read on the bus on your way to work.
Dumont d'Urville is one of the triumvirate of pioneering Antarctic explorers of the late 1830s; the others: Sir James Clark Ross and Lt. Charles Wilkes. In terms of exploration Ross accomplished the most of the three but d'Urville did a pretty good job of discovering new places over his two Antarctic voyages (Trinity and Adélie Lands, Joinville Island, Clarie Coast). Only about 40 pages of the book are actually devoted to d'Urville's time in the Antarctic, but he had a highly interesting life elsewhere so there's no reason the polar reader shouldn't take on the whole thing.
The production of this book is top-notch. The illustrations and maps are crisp and clear; no muddy images so prevalent in polar books these days.
In 2007 John Dunmore's The Life of Dumont d'Urville; from Venus to Antarctica (Auckland: Exisle) appeared. It's a worthwhile biography but less exhaustive and less scholarly than Duyker's effort, but a better choice for a quick read.
—R. Stephenson
(27 September 2015)

ICE SHIP; THE EPIC VOYAGES OF THE POLAR ADVENTURER FRAM Charles W. Johnson. Lebanon, NH: ForeEdge; an imprint of the University Press of New England, 2014. 318pp. $35. ISBN: 978-1-61168-396-7. Web:

A very nicely done 'biography of a ship'—Fram—probably the most famous polar ship of them all. Well designed; some photographs new to me and I'm sure to others; lots of useful information. A worthy addition to polar ship biographies done by Ann Savours (Discovery) and Mike Tarver (Terra Nova) and to Rorke Bryan's Ordeal by Ice: Ships of the Antarctic.
PROLOGUE, Polar Fever, Myth, and Mystery
     1 Eel and Elephant
PART I The First Expedition, 1893-1896 The Arctic Ocean
     2 Trip to Nowhere
     3 Northeast Passage
     4 Into the Ice
     5 Drifting
     6 The Mad Dash
     7 Home Free
     8 Together, Alone
     9 What Would Life Be?
     10 Homecoming
PART II The Second Expedition, 1898-1902 The Canadian Arctic
     11 Leaving Again
     12 The Devil's Way
     13 Chance Encounters
     14 Death on Ellesmere
     15 Unmapped Lands and Uncharted Waters
     16 New Land, New Dangers
     17 Hell Gate and the Cave of Ice
     18 A Third Winter
     19 The Promised Land
     20 A Fourth Winter, Breaking Out
PART III The Third Expedition, 1910-1912 Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
     21 The Boss
     22 The Great Deception
     23 Terra Nova
     24 The Southern Ocean
     25 Rescue or Rebellion?
     26 Triumph and Tragedy
     27 Abandoning Ship
     28 A Wandering Albatross
PART IV Last Voyages
     29 Ships in Ice, Ships of Air
     30 The Lonely Places
     31 Always a Sailor
Illustration Credits
"The thrilling journeys of the Fram through the ice and to the poles
In the golden age of polar exploration (from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s), many an expedition set out to answer the big question—was the Arctic a continent, an open ocean beyond a barrier of ice, or an ocean covered with ice? No one knew, for the ice had kept its secret well; ships trying to penetrate it all failed, often catastrophically. Norway's charismatic scientist-explorer Fridtjof Nansen, convinced that it was a frozen ocean, intended to prove it in a novel if risky way: by building a ship capable of withstanding the ice, joining others on an expedition, then drifting wherever it took them, on a relentless one-way journey into discovery and fame . . . or oblivion.
Ice Ship is the story of that extraordinary ship, the Fram, from conception to construction, through twenty years of three epic expeditions, to its final resting place as a museum. It is also the story of the extraordinary men who steered the Fram over the course of 84,000 miles: on a three-year, ice-bound drift, finding out what the Arctic really was; in a remarkable four-year exploration of unmapped lands in the vast Canadian Arctic; and on a two-year voyage to Antarctica, where another famous Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, claimed the South Pole.
Ice Ship will appeal to all those fascinated with polar exploration, maritime adventure, and wooden ships, and will captivate readers of such books as The Endurance, In the Heart of the Sea, and The Last Place on Earth. With more than 100 original photographs, the book brings the Fram to life and light."
Source: From the publisher's website.
—R. Stephenson
(6 December 2014)

SHACKLETON: A LIFE IN POETRY Jim Mayer. Oxford: Signal Books, 2014. 208pp. £9.99. ISBN: 9781909930100. Paperback. Web:

Jim's book was presented at Athy this year; he gave a very well-done talk on the subject. Shackleton was well known for his love and knowledge of poetry so this book is a welcomed addition to the Shackleton canon.
"Sir Ernest Shackleton, known as a tough polar explorer and inspirational leader, also held the words of poets close to his heart. 'Poetry was his other world and he explored it as eagerly as he did the great Antarctic spaces,' said his friend, Mrs. Hope Guthrie. This new biography reveals another side of Shackleton's story through the poetry he loved. It also includes–for the first time in published form—all the poems and poetic diary extracts written by the great explorer, each of which sheds light on significant milestones in his life and adventures. Shackleton, who did more than any other explorer to open Antarctica to the popular imagination, used poetry as a tool, to encourage and motivate men who were frequently operating close to their physical and psychological limits. The works of Tennyson, Browning and Robert W. Service were, in his own phrase, 'vital mental medicine' throughout his life. Poems influenced his speeches, his letters to his wife and the way he led his men. These verses, selected from his correspondence and other sources, are linked throughout the book to Shackleton's turbulent and restless life, offering fresh insights into his struggles in the Antarctic, his strained but loving marriage and the magnetic attraction of the polar regions. Shackleton: A life in Poetry is a love story, a new interpretation of a well-known Boy's Own adventure and a poetic exploration.

Jim Mayer is an expedition leader and a guide in the Arctic and Antarctic where he specialises in polar history. He has led his own life of exploration, having skied across the Greenland ice cap and survived an attack from hungry polar bears."
Source: From the publisher's website.
—R. Stephenson
(6 December 2014)

SHACKLETON: BY ENDURANCE WE CONQUER Michael Smith, Cork: The Collins Press, 2014. €24.99. 443pp. Illustrations (but not many). ISBN: 978-1-84889-176-0. Web:

The latest from the prolific Michael Smith. It was launched at the 2014 Shackleton Autumn School in Athy. The reviews have generally been favorable. I haven't read it yet but the unexciting presentation is noticeable: not very sharp photographs; the paper feels a little thin; doesn't rest in the hands very well. Nonetheless being familiar with Michael and his earlier efforts I'm certain this will stand as an important biography along with those of Huntford and the Fishers.
Previous mentions
UPDATE: Publication date: 2 October 2014. Title: Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer.
Former journalist Michael Smith is an established authority on Polar exploration. An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean Antarctic Survivor was short-listed for the Banff Mountain Book Festival 2002. The illustrated version was shortlisted for the Irish Published Book of the Year 2007. From the Irish Times: 'The epic struggles, heroics and unbelievable hardships of the voyages are wonderfully told. Compulsive reading.'
Michael's current work, appropriately, is a biography of 'one of history's great explorers, an extraordinary character who pioneered the path to the South Pole 100 years ago and became a dominant figure in Antarctic discovery': Sir Ernest Shackleton. A charismatic personality, Shackleton's incredible adventures on four expeditions have captivated generations and inspired a dynamic, modern following in business leadership. And of course none more so than the Endurance mission, where Shackleton's commanding presence saved the lives of his crew when their ship was crushed by ice and they were turned out on to the savage frozen landscape. But Shackleton was a flawed character whose chaotic private life, marked by romantic affairs, unfulfilled ambitions, overwhelming debts and failed business ventures, contrasted with his celebrity status as a leading explorer. Drawing on extensive research of original diaries and personal correspondence, Michael Smith's definitive biography brings a fresh perspective to our understanding of this complex man and the heroic age of Polar exploration.
ISBN: 9781780745725.
Source: James Caird Society Newsletter, 2014.

An extraordinary character and one of history's great explorers, Ernest Shackleton pioneered the path to the South Pole over 100 years ago, becoming the dominant figure in Antarctic discovery. His incredible adventures on four expeditions to the Antarctic have captivated generations. A restless adventurer from an Irish background, he joined the Empire's last great endeavor of exploration—conquering the South Pole with Robert Falcon Scott on the Discovery expedition. A clash with Scott led to Shackleton being ordered home and started a bitter feud between the two. Shackleton's riposte was the Nimrod expedition, where he uncovered the route to the Pole and honed his acclaimed leadership skills, which later kept despair at bay and encouraged men to overcome unimaginable hardship on the Endurance Expedition of 1914. But Shackleton was a flawed character whose chaotic private life, marked by romantic affairs, unfulfilled ambitions, and failed business ventures, contrasted with his celebrity status as the leading explorer. Drawing on extensive research of original diaries, letters, and many other publications, Michael Smith brings a fresh perspective to the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration that was dominated by Shackleton's complex, compelling, and enduringly fascinating story."
(25 July 2014)

—R. Stephenson
(6 December 2014)

OPERATION TABARIN: BRITAIN'S SECRET MISSION TO ANTARCTICA, 1943-46 Stephen Haddelsey with Alan Carroll. Foreword by HRH Princess Anne. Stroud: The History Press, 2014. $32.95. £18.99. 256pp. ISBN 9780752493565. Web:

I haven't gotten around to reading this yet but here are earlier mentions as it was developing:

Earlier Mentions
Stephen Haddelsey e-mails to report that his new book on Operation Tabarin "is now in the final edit stage. It will be published early in 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of the expedition's arrival in Antarctica. The publisher will be The History Press, and advance copies can already be ordered via Amazon."
(17 March 2013)

UPDATE: Stephen e-mails to say ""Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Mission to Antarctica, 1944-46" is finished!
(13 April 2013)

UPDATE: Due. April 2014. The History Press, hardback, 224pp plus 16pp mono 30 b/w illustrations, £18.99. ISBN: 978-0-7524-9356-5.
"In 1943, with the German 6th Army annihilated at Stalingrad and the Afrika Korps in full retreat after defeat at El Alamein, Churchill's War Cabinet met to discuss the opening of a new front. Its battles would be fought not on the beaches of Normandy or in the jungles of Burma but amidst the blizzards and glaciers of the Antarctic. Originally conceived as a means by which to safeguard the Falkland Islands from invasion and to deny harbours in the sub-Antarctic territories to surface raiders and U-boats, the expedition also sought to re-assert British sovereignty in the face of incursions by Argentina. As well as setting in train a sequence of events that would culminate in the Falklands War, the British bases established in 1944 would go on to play a vital part in the Cold War and lay the foundations for one of the most important programmes of scientific research in the polar regions: the British Antarctic Survey."
(29 July 2013)

UPDATE: Below are some of the advance notices of the book:
"Haddelsey brings the little known story of Operation Tabarin to life with his usual blend of narrative drive and thorough attention to detail. Based on extensive research, this volume is a valuable addition to our understanding of Britain's involvement in the Antarctic during this critical period."

"A truly remarkable story. All polar expeditions must face the dangers of crevasses, blizzards, isolation and intense cold; Operation Tabarin is surely unique in that it also risked confronting an armed and highly motivated enemy intent on frustrating its every move."

"A timely and very welcome account of an expedition that is vital to our understanding of British Antarctic exploration and the legacy of historic sites such as Port Lockroy."

"This is a history that had to be told, of the brave men who spent the winters of 1944-46 at the very ends of the earth. This secret wartime expedition to Antarctica, codenamed Operation Tabarin, provides the link between the Heroic Age of polar exploration and today's modern scientific era."

"A perspicuous and absorbing history of events from Operation Tabarin to the British Antarctic Survey."

"Operation Tabarin is a crucial period of the UK's long and varied history of Antarctic exploration and discovery. The brave men who sailed into largely unknown Antarctic waters during World War II, commenced the UK's continuous presence in Antarctica. This secret mission laid the foundations of the UK's ongoing world-leading scientific endeavours and underpinned the long-term peace and protection of the Antarctic continent provided by the Antarctic Treaty System."

"Having been one of the crew of HMS William Scoresby during Operation Tabarin I have had great pleasure reading this book and remembering the exploits at the bases at Port Lockroy, Hope Bay and Deception Island. Mr Haddelsey deserves praise for bringing it all back so vividly."

"A well written book about a little known but important expedition—very nostalgic."
(1 April 2014)

UPDATE: Stephen e-mails to say "Operation Tabarin: Britain's Secret Wartime Mission to Antarctica, 1944-46" has now been published. Hardcover: 256 pages. Publisher: The History Press (1 April 2014). ISBN-10: 0752493566. ISBN-13: 978-0752493565. Price: £18.99
(15 April 2014)
(13 July 2014)

SCOTT AND CHARCOT AT THE COL DU LAUTARET: 1908 TRIALS OF THE FIRST MOTOR DRIVEN SLEDGES DESIGNED FOR TRANSPORT IN THE ANTARCTIC Aubert, S., J.Skelton, Y. Frenot, A. Bignon. (The book has been launched but no mention of it appears at Amazon or at the SPRI Shop.) There is, however, a pdf of some or all of the book at

Judy Skelton e-mails to say:
"Recently back from the French launch of Scott and Charcot at the col du Lautaret: 1908 Trials of the first motor driven sledges designed for transport in the Antarctic. It was attended by myself, with two friends, plus my co-author Serge Aubert, the Director of the Alpine Garden at the col, and a bemused group of visitors who were on a conducted tour of the gardens and didn't quite know what was going on, though we were standing beside the Scott memorial cairn which Charcot had erected in the gardens in 1913 when he heard the news of Scott's death. We then repaired to the local hotel, now run by the great-grandson of the proprietor who entertained the party in 1908, for an extremely good lunch. I'm hoping SPRI will have a launch but haven't yet managed to pin anyone down to a date."
(4 July 2014)

UPDATE: I picked up a copy at SPRI in November and saw Judy there and had her sign it. In the SPRI shop it's priced at £10, very reasonable. [123]pp. Paperback. Numerous coloured and black & white photographic illustrations, maps. ISBN: 978-2-95355662-8-5
Table of Contents:
The Antarctic and its conquest
Captain Scott (1868-1912)
     The Discovery expedition
     The Terra Nova Expedition
     The controversy surrounding Scott's tragic expedition
Dr Charcot (1867-1936)
Motorised sledges for extreme conditions
     The different types of transport
     The first motor sledges
     The trials during winter 1908
The motorised sledges in the Antarctic
     Charcot's sledges
     Scott's sledges
The Cairn at col de Lautaret
Moving the cairn
     Treasure in the cairn?
     The centenary of the motor slege trials
Polar transport today
Polar research at Genoble
     Ecology of cold habitats
The Joseph Fourier Alpine Station (SAJF)
La version française (avec images en taille réduite)
(6 December 2014)

BELLINGSHAUSEN & THE RUSSIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1819-21 Rip Bulkeley. New York and elsewhere: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. $95. 276pp. ISBN 978-0-230-36326-7. Web:

I haven't read this yet but I can say two things without having done so: 1) It's ridiculously expensive. $95!; and 2) you'll need a magnifying glass to read it. You'd think at this price the publisher could afford to put some effort into the production.
—R. Stephenson
(6 June 2014)

Table of Contents:

Foreword, by Ian R. Stone
Acknowledgements and sources
List of abbreviations

1. Port Jackson, 1820
2. The Commander
3. Southward Ho
4. Wanted on Voyage

Translator's Note
5. First Season: December 1819 – September 1820
6. Second Season: November 1820 - August 1821
7. The Able Seaman
8. The Astronomer
9. The Lieutenant
10. Other Witnesses
11. Homecoming

12. Achievements
13. Future Research
14. Afterwords

Appendices 1-6

From earlier—
"Dear colleagues,
I have just delivered my book about the Bellingshausen expedition to the publishers, Palgrave, but the SCAR workshop at Cambridge comes too soon for them to produce a publicity flyer. At their suggestion I have created this informal leaflet instead. The estimated publication date is December 2013, estimated price £55.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book in due course, visit the Palgrave website towards the end of the year.
For some information about the book, please see below.
Rip Bulkeley (
(24 November 2013)

UPDATE: Rip Bulkeley e-mails to say: "just a quick note to let you know that my book, Bellingshausen and the Russian Antarctic Expedition, 1819-21, will be published by Palgrave on March 8th."

"This book examines the little studied story of Bellingshausen, and includes the fullest biography of the celebrated Russian explorer ever published. With translations of original eye-witness documents from Bellinghausen's voyage—the first scientific expedition to the Antarctic of the nineteenth century, conducted 47 years after James Cook's pioneering venture in the 1770s—Bulkeley transports the reader onto HIMS Vostok, one of the most celebrated ships in the history of the Russian Navy. While her seamen marvel at the aurora and her astronomer is nearly blown overboard in a storm, her intrepid commander tacks his ship between the ice floes in zero visibility, with only the menacing sound of the breakers to guide him. The largely unknown history of the Bellinghausen expedition is explored, with thoughtful discussion of the achievements and limitations of the expedition and suggestions for further research."

Release date: March 8, 2014. ISBN-10: 0230363261. ISBN-13: 978-0230363267
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan. 288pp. List price: $95

'An extensive compilation of annotated correspondence and reports ... which sheds new light on the first Russian expedition to Antarctica. … Bulkeley adds his profound background knowledge, which allows the reader to dip into everyday life, scientific knowledge and the political circumstances in Russia 200 years ago.'
–Cornelia Ludecke, Convenor, SCAR History Experts Group

'An invaluable sourcebook and an exceptional contribution that substantially readjusts the historical record. … We are given a brief informative overview—hitherto unparalleled in scope and depth—of the man's life and times. … It is a pleasure to follow the author in this exciting piece of intellectual detective work.'
–Aant Elzinga, Professor emeritus, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

'An amazing achievement.'
–Ian R. Stone, Editor, Polar Record
About the Author
Rip Bulkeley is based in Oxford, UK. He has written studies of the arms race, the space race, and international scientific cooperation. He belongs to British Pugwash, the Hakluyt Society, and the History Expert Group of ICSU's Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, has published several articles in Polar Record, and contributed to a recent History of the International Polar Years.
(12 February 2014)

MURDER IN THE ANTARCTIC Michael Warr., 2013. 307pp. $11.46; £7.99. ISBN: 978-1-78407-276-6. Paperback.

"After a marriage break up Jim McKinnon, a security consultant, wants an Antarctic cruise with cool seals, penguins and icebergs, and the beautiful brunette Carol Martins. She is interested in him, but is on the cruise to avenge her dead father killed on an Antarctic sledge trip many years ago. Four million dollars of stolen gold coins are hidden on the cruise ship. A passenger dies. Murdered. Someone is protecting the stashed gold. Jim investigates. He cannot rely on Carol: she is the prime suspect in the murder of a second passenger. The rest of the passengers want the murders solved. They deny knowledge of the gold coins. But someone will kill again to protect the gold. Jim could be next."

"Michael Warr spent two years of his life in his early twenties living in the Antarctic. It was a time of coal fires for heat and to melt snow for water. He worked with the British Antarctic Survey as a meteorologist. Isolation was for eight months. A 100 word radio message could be sent out once a month. The first base Mike was on was the small volcanic island, Deception. There was also a Chilean and an Argentinean base there. Wine and whisky was exchanged, plus music.
Mike ran the husky team, sometime with a sledge and if there was a lack of snow, a wheeled trolley.
In his second winter Mike was on Adelaide Island 400 miles further south on a small base attached to a 90 mile long glaciated island. Again he ran the husky team, but on permanent snow. He went camping three times away from the base. At the end of his tour he left reluctantly thinking he would never return. Thirty-nine years later when writing his South of Sixty book he revisited the Antarctic Peninsula. The changes were more whales, many more fur seals and a temperature that had risen by over 2 degrees C. This voyage became the last four chapters of South of Sixty.
Subsequently Mike went on five more Antarctic voyages as a staff historian. His interests are running, reading and writing. The last is mainly concentrated on an Antarctic murder mystery."
(7 February 2014)

NIMROD; THE JOURNAL OF THE ERNEST SHACKLETON AUTUMN SCHOOL edited by Seamus Taaffe. Athy: The Ernest Shackleton Autumn School Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, 2007-present. Wrappers. Copies may be obtained from the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Town Hall, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. E-mail for further details:

CONTENTS Vol 1 2007
'Shackleton at South Georgia,' Robert Burton.
'The Origin & Development of the Antarctic Treat System,' Robert Headand,
'The Legacy of Frozen Beards,' Joe O'Farrell.
'Francios Leopold McClintock, Victorian Polar Explorer,' David Murphy.
'The Shackletons & The Falklands,' Jim McAdam.
Nimrod: Ernest Shackleton & the Extraordinary Story of the 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition, Beau Riffenburgh. Reviewed by Aidan O'Sullivan.
Rejoice my Heart; the Making of H. R. Mill's 'The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Michael Rosove. Reviewed by Seamus Taaffe.
The Lost Men, Kelly Tyler-Lewis. Reviewed by Joe O'Farrell.

CONTENTS Vol 2 2008
'The Crew of S.Y. Endurance,' John F. Mann.
'Antarctic Sites outside the Antarctic—Memorials, Statues, Houses, Graves and the occasional Pub,' Robert B. Stephenson.
'The "Kildare" Shackleton Harness,' Kevin Kenny.
'Conundrums in Arctic Sovereignity,' Robert Headland.
'Biographical Disctionary of an Uninhabited Island,' David Tatham.
Ice Captain: The Life of J.R. Stenhouse, Stephen Haddelsey. Reviewed by Paul Davies.
Arctic Hell-Ship: The Voyage of HMS Enterprise 1850-1855, William Barr. Reviewed by Joe O'Farrell.
Antarctic Destinies—Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism, Stephanie Barczewski. Reviewed by Jim McAdam.

CONTENTS Vol 3 2009
'Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean: Two Irish Antarctic Heroes,' Stephanie Barczewski.
'Shackleton and Chile,' Jim McAdam.
'Who are these Shackletons?,' Jonathan Shackleton.
'Irish, Norse and Inuit: Early Medieval Voyages of Exploration in the North Atlantic,' Aidan O'Sullivan.
'The Antarctic Treaty and Ireland,' Robert Headland.
'Shackleton's First Two Public Lectures on his return from the Endurance Expedition,' Jim McAdam and Geraldine McDonald.
Nimrod Illustrated: Pictures from Lieutenant Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition, David Wilson. Reviewed by Michael Rosove.
The Dictionary of Falklands Biography (including South Georgia) from Discovery up to 1981, edited by David Tatham. Reviewed by Robert Philpott.
The Entire Earth and Sky: Views on Antarctica, Leslie Carol Roberts. Reviewed by Stephen Scott-Fawcett.
A Chronology of Antarctic Exploration. A Synopsis of Events and Activities from the Earliest Times until the International Polar Years, 2007-09, Robert Keith Headland. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson.

CONTENTS Vol 4 2010
'Ten Years A-Growing: the story (so far) of the Shackleton Autumn School,' Joe O'Farrell.
'Censorship, Secret Lives and the story of Scott of the Antarctic,' Max Jones.
'Historic Huts of the Antarctic from the Heroic Age,' Robert Headland. 'Early Arctic Films of Nancy Columbia and Esther Eneutseak,' Kenn Harper & Russell Potter.
'The Great Books of Shackletonia,' MIchael H. Rosove.
'Sir Ernest Shackleton and Fur Sealing in the Falkland Islands,' Jlm McAdam.
Race to the End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole, Ross D. E. MacPhee. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson.
The Shackleton Letters: Behind the Scenes of the Nimrod Expedition, Regina Daly. Reviewed by Kevin Kenny.
The Longest Winter: Scott's other Heroes, Meredith Hooper. Reviewed by Paul Davies.

CONTENTS Vol 5 2011
'Adventure,' Sir Ernest H. Shackleton.
'Remembering a Forgotten Hero, Lt. Nobu Shirase,' Chet Ross.
'Studying the Natural History of Pack Ice in the Weddell Sea,' David N. Thomas.
'Endurance - A Researcher's Tale,' John F. Mann.
'Polar Exploration Ships - Can we call them 'Heroes' too?,' Michael C. Tarver.
'Shackletonia in the Falkland Islands Journal,' Jim McAdam.
A.G.E. Jones—An Appreciation,' Jim McAdam.
'Frankie Wild's Hut,' A.G.E. Jones.
'Shackleton's Amazing Rescue 1916,' A.G.E. Jones.
'The 'Athy' Shackleton Archives,' Kevin Kenny.
'On the Search for H M Ships Erebus and Terror,' Joe O'Farrell.
The Adelie Blizzard, preface by Emma McEwin, introduction by Elizabeth Leane & Mark Pharaoh. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson.
In Shackleton's Footsteps, Henry Worsley. Reviewed by John O'Brien.
The Quest for Frank Wild, Angie Butler. Reviewed by Joe O'Farrell.

CONTENTS Vol 6 2012
'How I Began - Sir Ernest H. Shackleton,' by A.B. Cooper.
'Shackleton's Affinity for the Poetry of Robert Browning,' by Regina Wilson Daly.
'The South Pole Expedition of Roald Amundsen - How did he prepare for the expedition and what do his crewmembers' diaries tell us about it?,' by Geir O. Kløver.
'Captain Carl Anton Larsen (1860-1924) Antarctic Pioneer & Explorer,' by Hans-Kjell Larsen.
'The Cinematic Race for the South Pole,' Lans Anders Olesen.
'Edward Wilson's Antarctic Notebooks,' by Christopher. I. Wilson.
'Notes from a Shackleton Scholar: Heritage Tourism in the South Atlantic,' by Emma Jane Wells.
'Raymond Priestley as diary-keeper,' by Meredith Hooper.
'Ireland's Polar Heritage,' by Laura Farrelly.
'Ernest Shackleton and the Titanic Inquiry,' by Kevin Kenny.
'Sir Ernest Shackleton on Postage Stamps from the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Falkland Island Dependencies and British Antarctic Territory,' by Jim McAdam, Robert Burton and Stefan Heitjz.
'The Shackleton Challenge,' by Kevin Kenny.
Captain Scott's Invaluable Assistant: Edgar Evans, Isobel Williams. Reviewed by John O'Brien.
The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery and Adventure in Antarctica's Peninsula Region, Joan N. Boothe. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson

CONTENTS Vol 7 2013
'Address to the 12th Ernest Shackleton Autumn School,' President [of Ireland] Michael D. Higgins.
'My Life as an Explorer—Early Memories,' Roald Amundsen.
'Did Shackleton care about Science,' Edward J. Larson.
'Antarctic Débacle. Wilhelm Filchner's Second German South Polar Expedition 1911-1912: allocation of blame,' William Barr
'Shackleton Plays Truant in the "Silverdale Wood",' Jan Piggott.
'Scott's Irishmen,' Michael Smith.
'Endurance at South Georgia,' Robert Burton.
'Captain Oates and Ireland,' Kevin Kenny.
'Antarctic Place Names with Irish Origins,' Robert Headland.
'Coins Issued to Commermorate Sir Ernest Shackleton,' Jim McAdam.
Madigan's Account: The Mawson Expedition, transcribed by Julia W. Madigan. Reviewed by Mark Pharaoh.
Antarctica: A Biography, David Day. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson.

CONTENTS Vol 8 2014
'An Appreciation of Ernest Shackleton by one who has sailed with him,' G.A. McLean Buckley.
'Hoosh: Stories of Antarctic Cuisine,' Jason Anthony.
'Geoplotics in the Freezer: Current and Future Challenges Facing Antarctica,' Klaus Dodds.
'The Franklin Expedition: Did they Try to Sail Home?,' Maria Pia Casarini
'Sea Ice and Shackleton's Expeditions,' Peter Wadhams.
'Evaluation and Protection of Antarctic Heritage Sites on South Georgia,' Robert K. Headland.
'Polar Otherworlds: Dreams and Ghosts in Arctic Exploration,' Shane McCorristine.
'They Also Served: An Introductory Look at Hundreds of Men of the Heroic Age Behind theFamous Names,' Joan Boothe.
'Additional Antarctic Place Names with Irish Origins,' Robert K. Headland.
'Shackleton Centenary Event in Plymouth,' Jim McAdam.
Shackleton By Endurance We Conquer, by Michael Smith. Reviewed by Mark Pharaoh.
1912: The Year the World Discovered Antarctica, by Chris Turney. Reviewed by Joe O'Farrell.
Recent Notable Antarctic Publications. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson.

RISE & SHINE: DIARY OF JOHN GEORGE HUNTER AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1911-1913 Edited by Jenny M. Hunter. Hinton, NSW: Hunter House Publications, 2011. 218pp. Illustrations. AUD44.95. ISBN: 978-1-876388-01-0. I purchased my copy through the Mawson's Huts Foundation:
Foreword, by Alasdair McGregor
John George Hunter, a brief biography, by David Jensen
Introduction, by Jenny M Hunter
Editing John Hunter's diary, by Jenny M Hunter
SY Aurora
Rise & Shine, the Antarctic Diary of John George Hunter
i Miscellaneous terms
ii The Mackellar Library
iii Men and Milestones
iv Cape Hunter
List of images
The Antarctic Club

"This is the personal diary of the AAE's chief biologist at the Main Base at Cape Denison and tells the story of a young man who interrupted his medical studies for an adventure in the Antarctic. The beautifully presented book is a limited edition of only 500 copies, published his son William (Bill) to mark the Centenary of the expedition and to make the diaries (held by the National Library) accessible to those fascinated by the Antarctic experience. Bill's daughter Jenny M Hunter edited the diary for publication which contains 224 pages and more than 80 images. Each copy sold generates a commission for the Foundation to help conserve the huts he work and lived in."

Very interesting and very readable. Not sure about the "antiqued" page design.
—R. Stephenson
(6 July 2013)

STILL NO MAWSON: FRANK STILLWELL'S ANTARCTIC DIARIES 1911-13 Edited by Bernadette Hince. Canberra: Australian Academy of Science, 2012. 240pp. Illustrations. AUD75. ISBN: 978-0-85847-330-0. Web:
Frank Stillwell
Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914
The diaries
Notes on the text
December 1911
January 1912
February 1912
March 1912
April 1912
May 1912
June 1912
July 1912
August 1912
September 1912
October 1912
November 1912
December 1912
January 1913
February 1913
March 1913
Appendix: Letter from Frank Stilwell, March 1912

"In January 1913, Frank Stillwell and 14 other men waited anxiously at Main Base for three overdue men.
All of the summer's field parties had returned safely to the Cape Denison hut—except for Douglas Mawson's. 'Another day and no Mawson', wrote Stillwell on 21 January. 'Still no Mawson', he wrote five days later. 'The most optimistic among us now are beginning to have fears…'. By February it seemed clear that the missing men had all died.
Frank Stillwell's diaries reveal everyday life in the men's isolated hut in Antarctica, with near-poisonings and the tragedy of two men's deaths.
The diaries are now held by the Academy. With the support of Geoscience Australia and the Geological Society of Australia, the diaries have been published in full in this book. The year 2012 is a centenary year for the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, and the book is a fitting celebration of Australia's first scientific expedition to Antarctica."

I saw these diaries when visiting the Academy in 2010 and wondered why they had never been published. So it's a joy to see them now in print and in such a modern and crisp format.
—R. Stephenson
(6 July 2013)

ANTARCTIC DIARY Stanley Gordon Roberts Taylor. Kensington Park, South Australia: Irene Gale, 2011. 224pp. Illustrations. AUD35. ISBN: 978-0-646-56655-9. Paperback. I purchased my copy through the Mawson's Huts Foundation:

"Around the age of 13, Stan Taylor ran away for sea and after serving on sailing ships around the world signed up as a fireman onboard the steam yacht "Aurora" which took the AAE to the Antarctic. He defied orders from the Captain, J. K. "Gloomy" Davis to keep a record of the voyage and photographs and Stan's descendants have out together his diary as a book to mark the Centenary of Mawson's expedition. He painted a vivid picture of the voyage and the conditions he and the crew lived under. It is now only available through the Foundation."

Illustration Credits
Part One: Antarctic Diary
Route Map
Part Two: The Years After
(6 July 2013)

MADIGAN'S ACCOUNT. THE MAWSON EXPEDITION. THE ANTARCTIC DIARIES OF C. T. MADIGAN 1911-1914 Transcribed by J. W. Madigan. North Hobart, Tasmania: Wellington Bridge Press, 2012. 608pp. Numerous illustrations. AUD75. ISBN: 978-1-92-176709-8. Web:
November 19, 1911 - January 18, 1912
Expedition members travel to Hobart and prepare for their journey. Thence to Macquarie Island, to Antarctica, and eventually Commonwealth Bay. After unloading, the 'Aurora' leaves with the Western Party on 19th January.
January 19, 1912 - July 8, 1912
The Hut is built; then later the recording instruments and their structures. Data and specimens are collected and observations made. Weather restricts any sledging. 'Adelie Blizzard' commenced.
July 10, 1912 - October 31, 1912
Aladdin's Cave constructed in August. Work continues on the wireless masts. Three Reconnaissance Journeys in September. Continuing preparations for main sledging journeys.
September 12, 1912 - January 16, 1913
12th to 26th September, account of Reconnaissance Western Party. November 8th 1912 to January 16th 1913, account of Eastern Coastal Sledging Journey.
February 13, 1913 - August 31, 1913
Private Diary. Party of six men stay to recover Mawson's Party. Madigan continues observations and data collection. Wireless messages. Wireless operator becomes seriously ill. 'Adelie Blizzard' recommences.
September 3, 1913 - January 31, 1914
Private Diary. Memorial Cross erected for Mertz and Ninnis. Last short sledge journey, 24th November to December 12th 1913. Coastal exploration from the 'Aurora'.
February 4, 1914 - February 25, 1914
The 'Aurora' turns homeward.
APPENDIX I - Vanity Fair
APPENDIX II - Sledging Narrative
APPENDIX III - Hodgeman's ReliefJourney
APPENDIX IV - Renmark Magazine Article

"These diaries describe the experiences of Cecil Thomas Madigan in Antarctica as a member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. There were three landed parties: one of five men on Macquarie Island led by George Frederick Ainsworth, one the Western Party of eight men on the Shackleton Ice Shelf led by John Robert Francis Wild, and the third and largest party of eighteen men led by Douglas Mawson based at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay. Madigan gives his account of the first year at the main base at Cape Denison; of the wondrous environment he found himself in, the living conditions and relationships formed, the care of the polar dogs, the hardships endured and the happy times enjoyed, and the preparations for the four main sledging journeys of exploration which, apart from the collection of data and specimens during that year, were the principal reason for the expedition."

A very nicely produced volume; thoroughly and expertly transcribed and edited. I purchased my copy through the Mawson's Huts Foundation:
—R. Stephenson
(6 July 2013)

ALONE ON THE ICE; THE GREATEST SURVIVAL STORY IN THE HISTORY OF EXPLORATION David Roberts. New York: W. W. Norton, 2013. 368pp. $27.95. ISBN: 978-0-393-24016-0
David Roberts, prolific author and a mountaineering legend, turns his attention to Mawson. The book was chosen as book-of-the-week by The Week magazine. It's garnered a lot of praise elsewhere as well. I've just started it and will report back later.
1. Forgotten by God
2. Prof Doggo
3. Cape Denison
4. The Home of the Blizzard
5. The Painful Silence
6. Dead Easy to Die
7. Winter Maadness
"His two companions dead, food and supplies vanished in a crevasse, Douglas Mawson was still one hundred miles from camp.
On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface.
Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, "Which one are you?"
This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders. It is illustrated by a trove of Frank Hurley's famous Antarctic photographs, many never before published in the United States. 24 pages of illustrations."
Source: From

Speaking of Mawson, Seamus Taaffe has e-mailed to say that In Bed with Douglas Mawson by Craig Cormick has just been published (New Holland Publishers, Australia, AUD29.95. 400pp. ISBN: 9781742570082) and that Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen by Peter Fitzsimons is due out in November. Also due then is Heather Rossiter's Mawson's Forgotten Men, The 1911-1913 Antarctic Diary of Charles Turnbull Harrisson (Murdoch Books).
(4 March 2013)

HOLD FAST: TOM CREAN WITH SHACKLETON'S ENDURANCE EXPEDITION 1913-1916 David Hirzel. Pacifica, CA: Terra Nova Press, 2013. 301pp. $16.65 from Amazon. ISBN: 9781482530797. An e-book edition is also available. Paperback. Web:

David Hirzel's second book on Tom Crean has appeared: Hold Fast: Tom Crean with Shackleton's Endurance Expedition 1913-1916. It follows Crean through those adventurous days in the same manner as his previous book, Sailor on Ice, "seeing what he sees, knowing only what he knows, one hard day at a time."

"Some men are born for the sea. They run away to it early in life, and it shapes their adolescence and young manhood, their view of themselves and the world, and everything that follows. Tom Crean was such a man.

A sailor's world is defined by the boundaries set by the rail of his ship. Beyond that rail, at an indeterminate distance, he sees but cannot reach the endless circle of the horizon dividing the blue water below from the blue sky above. It appears the same wherever in the world his ship may be, afloat on the heaving swells of any one of the seven seas. The sky and water may not always be blue. They may be gray, white with driving foam and fog, obscured by night, defined by stars, the water calm and flat as a mirror glass or risen in waves beaten by ceaseless gales. It is always so—changeless and ever changing, the same and never the same.

This is in part the allure of the sea, this placement of man against nature–defined by nature, overwhelmed by nature. If he comes home to tell the tale, he finds himself in some small measure triumphant against forces far greater than his limited power.

The call of the ice is not so different from the call of the sea. The horizon is much the same, the sky above as blue while the ice below has taken the place of water as far as the eye can see. The ice can assume many colors other than the expected white; descriptions of it are full of words like azure, lemon, topaz, aquamarine. But its apparent end is still a horizon always out of reach, its undulations and sudden motions as treacherous as a rogue wave to the unwary traveler. After Captain Cook's circumnavigation of the supposed Antarctic continent in 1773-1774 a host of explorers had gone there in his wake ice and come home with tales of wonder and suffering, as though the two experiences were somehow unalterably linked. Some men are born with a love of this.

The sound of brash ice scraping along the side of the ship with a sound like broken glass shaken in a box is a lullaby to their ears, a familiar song they know long before the first time he hears it. The ever present knowledge that their ship might be gored by a floe and sink without a trace only serves to heighten their desire. When he said "What the ice gets, the ice keeps," Shackleton was referring to more than just the doomed Endurance splintering under the irresistible pressure of sea-ice in motion."
—Excerpt from the Introduction.
Chapter One: "A New Adventure"
Chapter Two: "To the Ice Again"
Chapter Three: "New Land"
Chapter Four: "Winter in the Ice"
Map: The Drift of the Endurance
Chapter Five: "Trapped"
Chapter Six: "Shipwreck"
Chapter Seven: "On the Floe"
Chapter Eight: "In the Boats"
Chapter Nine: "Cape Wild"
Chapter Ten: "The Boat Journey"
Chapter Eleven: "Landing on South Georgia"
Chapter Twelve: "Crossing the Island"
Chapter Thirteen: "Relief"
Appendix One: Crew List
Appendix Two: Glossary
Appendix Three: Bibliography
The story of Shackleton's Endurance expedition has been told many times. The value of this re-telling is that it's done from the perspective of Tom Crean, one of the most remarkable Antarctic explorers and companions of the Heroic Age. Hirzel's approach is of a non-fiction novel which makes for a very readable account. It belongs on that increasingly longer shelf of Shackletonia.

(29 June 2013)

A HISTORY OF ANTARCTICA Stephen Martin. Sydney: Rosenberg Publishing, 2013. 280pp, 75 color plates, 75 black & white illustrations, AUD$49.95. ISBN: 9781921719578. Web:

This is the second and much revised edition of Martin's excellent history which first appeared in 1996. The author was for many years the "Antarctic man" at Sydney's Mitchell Library. Numerous illustrations that were new to me. Highly recommended.
Introduction 1. In a Beautiful Frozen World
2. Early Images and Contacts
3. Exploitation and Exploration: 1775-1893
4. The First Continental Explorations: 1898-1918
5. Claimed, Exploited and Occupied: 1920-1945
6. The Evolution of the Antarctic Treaty: 1940-1960
7. From Antarctic Treaty to Madrid PRotocol: 1960-1990
8. After the Madrid Protocol: 1991
9. Free of All Loneliness… Endnotes
Picture Credits
"During fifty years of involvement with 'the great south land', thousands of Australians have shared the experience of the grandeur and deprivations of this forbidding continent with their counterparts from many nations.
This history was first published in 1996 and has now been revised and expanded by the author. It traces the patterns of human activity, in Antarctica from the southern journeys of the sixteenth century to the modern expeditions of adventurers and tourists.
Using material from books, diaries, letters and fresh research, Stephen Martin illuminates the main themes of Antarctic history with the personal stories and images of the men and women who explored, worked and lived in this frozen and remote continent.
This book is about the people of Antarctica: those who have chosen to endure the risks and enjoy the rewards of conquering the world's most forbidding land. The author was senior librarian and researcher at the Mitchell Library in Sydney, and has unrivalled knowledge of its Australiana collections, which include original works by Frank Hurley and other noted photographers and artists who braved hazardous conditions in Antarctica during the 1800s and early 1900s, and the personal diaries, journals, ships' logs and letters from dozens of explorers and scientists."
Source: Publisher's website

(4 April 2013)

ANTARCTICA IN FICTION; IMAGINATIVE NARRATIVES OF THE FAR SOUTH Dr Elizabeth Leane. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 259pp. AUD$115.00. Hardback. ISBN-13: 9781107020825 Web:
"This comprehensive analysis of literary responses to Antarctica examines the rich body of texts that the continent has provoked over the last three centuries, focussing particularly on narrative fiction. Novelists as diverse as Edgar Allan Poe, James Fenimore Cooper, Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula Le Guin, Beryl Bainbridge and Kim Stanley Robinson have all been drawn artistically to the far south. The continent has also inspired genre fiction, including a Mills and Boon novel, a Phantom comic and a Biggles book, as well as countless lost-race romances, espionage thrillers and horror-fantasies. Antarctica in Fiction draws on these sources, as well as film, travel narratives and explorers' own creative writing. It maps the far south as a space of the imagination and argues that only by engaging with this space, in addition to the physical continent, can we understand current attitudes towards Antarctica.

Elizabeth Leane is a senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Tasmania. She is author of Reading Popular Physics: Disciplinary Skirmishes and Textual Strategies (2007) and editor of Considering Animals: Contemporary Studies in Human-Animal Relations (2011) with Carol Freeman and Yvette Watt."
—From the publisher's website
List of figures
1. Speculative Visions of the South Polar Regions
2. Bodies, Boundaries and the Antarctic Gothic
3. Creative Explorations of the Heroic Era
4. The Survival Value of Literature at High Latitudes
5. The Transforming Nature of Antarctic Travel
6. Freezing Time in Far Southern Narratives

See an excerpt from the introduction.

See some of the front matter.

I've ordered the book and will have more to say once I've spent some time with it.
(13 January 2013)

HOOSH: ROAST PENGUIN, SCURVY DAY AND OTHER STORIES OF ANTARCTIC CUISINE Jason C. Anthony. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012. 368pp. Paperback. $26.95. ISBN-10: 0803226667 ISBN-13: 978-0803226661

At an Antarctic gathering in Maine this summer, Jason Anthony menioned the book he's been working on about Antarctic food. He's since e-mailed me this description:

"I'm writing to let you know that I have a manuscript well underway on the topic of food in Antarctica. The working title is Hoosh: Stories of Antarctic Cuisine, and it is to be published by the University of Nebraska Press. No date has been set for publication, but the first full draft of the ms. is in the hands of the editor. There will be a round or two of edits, and I'll let you know publication info when the time comes. As the title suggests, Hoosh is built of Antarctic food stories, starting with the Belgica and an in-depth reading of the heroic age before running chronologically up through the era of Byrd, Ellsworth and Rymill to the NBSAE and the IGY before finally turning to recent years in McMurdo, South Pole and other stations. Throughout the chronology, Hoosh highlights the tribulations of cooks, the role of diet and (often poor) nutrition, and the sometimes desperate state of affairs in Antarctic trail food. All the well-known (and many lesser-known) dramas from the heroic age, often involving the consumption of wildlife or transport (dogs and ponies), are retold in light of the crucial importance of food in all of them.

Naturally, the narratives change as we leave tales of scurvy and pemmican behind and arrive instead at the late-twentieth century year-round, cafeteria-fed occupation, but there are story lines that weave together the old cuisine and the new.

Hoosh should be comprehensive enough in its research to inform even a well-read Antarctican while entertaining enough to interest the first-time reader of Antarctic history.

The chapter titles for Hoosh, as I imagine them now, are as follows:
      Prologue - A Recipe for Something.
      Chapter 1 All Thinking and Talking of Food
      Chapter 2 The Secret Society of Unconventional Cooks
      Chapter 3 It Paid for its Cheek with its Life
      Chapter 4 Meat and Melted Snow
      Chapter 5 How to Keep a Fat Explorer in Prime Condition
      Chapter 6 Into the Deep Freeze
      Chapter 7 Prisoner-of-War Syndrome
      Chapter 8 The Syrup of American Comfort
      Chapter 9 A Cookie and a Story
      Chapter 10 Sleeping with Vegetables
      Chapter 11 A Tale of Two Stations
      Epilogue - Not Under These Conditions

I worked in the USAP from 1994 to 2004 in various positions, based in McMurdo but traveling out over the years to a wide variety of field camps in both West and East Antarctica. More recently, I've been publishing essays about Antarctica in various magazines, most recently Orion and The Virginia Quarterly Review.

Anyone interested in talking to me about Hoosh can reach me through my website of Antarctic essays and photographs,"
(15 August 2010)

UPDATE: Jason e-mails to say his book will be published 1 November 2012 by the University of Nebraska Press priced at $24.95. It may be pre-ordered at,675267.aspx "…the book is thoroughly illustrated with 36 images ranging from the Discovery expedition up through the first winterover at the new Concordia station. Also, I published a version of Chapter 3: Slaughter and Scurvy in Endeavour, an online academic magazine focused on the history of science. Endeavour did a special issue on the Scott/Amundsen story, and my piece is entitled "The Importance of Eating Local: Slaughter and Scurvy in Antarctic Cuisine." There are other fine articles in the issue that may interest your readers."
(5 February 2011)

UPDATE: I've not received a copy yet—it's part of a delayed order. But it has appeared and others have said it's very good.

"Antarctica, the last place on Earth, is not famous for its cuisine. Yet it is famous for stories of heroic expeditions in which hunger was the one spice everyone carried. At the dawn of Antarctic cuisine, cooks improvised under inconceivable hardships, castaways ate seal blubber and penguin breasts while fantasizing about illustrious feasts, and men seeking the South Pole stretched their rations to the breaking point. Today, Antarctica's kitchens still wait for provisions at the far end of the planet's longest supply chain. Scientific research stations serve up cafeteria fare that often offers more sustenance than style. Jason C. Anthony, a veteran of eight seasons in the U.S. Antarctic Program, offers a rare workaday look at the importance of food in Antarctic history and culture.
Anthony's tour of Antarctic cuisine takes us from hoosh (a porridge of meat, fat, and melted snow, often thickened with crushed biscuit) and the scurvy-ridden expeditions of Shackleton and Scott through the twentieth century to his own preplanned three hundred meals (plus snacks) for a two-person camp in the Transantarctic Mountains. The stories in Hoosh are linked by the ingenuity, good humor, and indifference to gruel that make Anthony's tale as entertaining as it is enlightening."
(20 November 2012)

BIRDIE BOWERS; CAPTAIN SCOTT'S MARVEL Anne Strathie. Stroud: The History Press, 2012. 224pp. £18.99. Hardback. $29.95. ISBN: 978-0-7524-6003-1
"Henry 'Birdie' Bowers realised his life's ambition when he was selected for Captain Scott's Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic, yet he also met his death on the journey.
Born to a sea-faring father and adventurous mother on the Firth of Clyde, Bowers' boyhood obsession with travel and adventure took him round the world several times and his life appears, with hindsight, to have been a ceaseless preparation for his ultimate, Antarctic challenge. Although just 5ft 4in, he was a bundle of energy; knowledgeable, indefatigable and the ultimate team player. In Scott's words, he was 'a marvel'.
This new biography, drawing on Bowers' letters, journals and previously neglected material, sheds new light on Bowers and tells the full story of the hardy naval officer who could always lift his companions' spirits."
—From the publisher's website
Family Roots
Learning the Ropes
Sailing the Seven Seas
Entering New Worlds
In Captain Bowers' Footsteps
Scotland, Dangerous Waters and a Beautiful Island
Uncertain Times and a New Beginning
Heading South
To the Point of Departure
Down to the Ice
The Depot Journey
Deepest Winter
Getting Ready
Across the Barrier to the Beardmore
To the Pole
The Long Haul Back
Breaking the Silence
    A: Expedition Personnel
    B: Glossary
    C: Notes on Measurements Notes and Sources
Selected Bibliography
    1. The Irrawaddy, Burma (now Myanmar)
    2. Antarctica, showing surrounding countries
    3. McMurdo Sound, showing the scene of the pony' disaster' on the depot journey, April 1911
    4. Ross Island, showing the track of the Cape Crozier journey, June-August 1911
    5. McMurdo Sound, showing Cape Evans and the Ferrar Glacier
    6. Southern journey from Cape Evans to the foot of the Beardmore Glacier
    7· Route to the South Pole (on plateau), January 1912
    8. Scott and Amundsen's routes to and from the South Pole
    9. Journey of the search party, October-November 1912

I've not read this yet so stay tuned.
(20 November 2012)

THE WORST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD Apsley Cherry-Garrard. London: The Folio Society, 2012. 591pp. Illustrations. Hardback with pictorial covers in a slipcase. Introduction by Francis Spufford. $90 (I'm not a member of the Society but was able to purchase the volume without joining. I did so by calling the Society's toll-free number 866-255-8280. Web:

EARLIER NOTICE: The Folio Society has announced it will be issuing a new edition of that most often published Antarctic title of them all, Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World. To appear in 2013, the price yet to be announced. Of it, the Society's newsletter says "Apsley Cherry-Garrard's memoir The Worst Journey in the World has been voted the best-ever travel book. Detailing with frankness the courage and suffering of the members of the Terra Nova expedition, and the loss of his comrades, it is a beautifully written and deeply moving account. The Folio edition includes the meteorological log of the journey to Cape Crozier kept by Henry Bowers, and photographs taken by expedition members, lending added immediacy to Cherry-Garrard's remarkable prose." The Society recently published the complete four volumes of the South Polar Times.
(2 August 2012)

UPDATE: This is a handsome production. Some of the illustrations will be new to most Antarcticans. Francis Spufford's introduction is five pages—I was hoping for a longer one.
(20 November 2012)

ANTARCTIC DAYS—SKETCHES OF THE HOMELY SIDE OF POLAR LIFE BY TWO OF SHACKLETON'S MEN Murray, James and George Marston. Norwich: Erskine Press, 2012. 199pp. Cloth in dustwrapper. Limited to 250 numbered copies. £75. Web:

EARLIER NOTICE: At the upcoming Athy Shackleton Autumn School, The Erskine Press will be launching its newest facsimile, Antarctic Days, one of the more collected Heroic Age books. Written and illustrated by James Murray and George Marston, it gives a feeling for the personal side of Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. Originally published in a small edition in 1913 this is a very rare book and will be a welcome addition to all Polar libraries, particularly as an original will cost somewhat over £2,500. This edition, with an introduction by Joe O'Farrell, will be limited to 280 numbered copies.

UPDATE: The book was successfully launched at Athy. It's a well-done facsimile that made use of Seamus Taaffe's copy.
(20 November 2012)

ANTARCTICA: A BIOGRAPHY David Day. Random House (Knopf Australia), 2012. 624pp. Price: AUD45. ISBN: 9781741669084. Web:
To be published in the UK and the US in 2013 by Oxford University Press.
Click here for a review that appeared in Nimrod, Fall 2013.

A groundbreaking history of human interaction with Antarctica, the last continent on earth.

For centuries it was suspected that there must be an undiscovered continent in the southern hemisphere. But explorers failed to find one. On his second voyage to the Pacific, Captain James Cook sailed further south than any of his rivals but failed to sight land. It was not until 1820 that the continent's frozen coast was finally discovered and parts of the continent began to be claimed by nations that were intent on having it as their own.

That rivalry intensified in the 1840s when British, American and French expeditions sailed south to chart further portions of the continent that had come to be called Antarctica.

On and off for nearly two centuries, the race to claim exclusive possession of Antarctica has gripped the imagination of the world. Science was enlisted to buttress the rival claims as nations developed new ways of asserting territorial claims over land that was too forbidding to occupy. Although the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 was meant to end the rivalry, it has continued regardless, as new nations became involved and environmentalists, scientists and resource companies began to compete for control.

Antarctica: A Biography draws upon libraries and archives from around the world to provide the first, large-scale history of Antarctica. On one level, it is the story of explorers battling the elements in the most hostile place on earth as they strive for personal triumph, commercial gain and national glory. On a deeper level, it is the story of nations seeking to incorporate the Antarctic into their national narratives and to claim its frozen wastes as their own.

—From the publisher's website.
I've not seen this book yet but it looks to be—at 624pp—a weighty resource.
—R. Stephenson
(2 August 2012)
UPDATE: I'm now reading this, about 75 pages in and I'm pretty impressed. Very readable. I'm learning some things new to me which is a good sign.
The US edition is dated 2013, 614pp. The time span stretches from Cook in the 1770s to 2012. I think this will become a good all-in-one introduction to Antarctica, well-researched and well-written.
—R. Stephenson
(6 July 2013)

UPDATE: I did a review of the book for the 2013 edition of Nimrod, the annual journal of the Shackleton Autumn School, Athy, Ireland.
—R. Stephenson
(16 January 2014)

DEAD MEN Richard Pierce. New York: The Overlook Press, 2012. (First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Gerald Duckworth.) 284pp. $25.95. ISBN: 978-1-59020-868-7. Web:
"A century after Scott's doomed expedition, one woman ventures under the Antarctic ice. The discovery of Captain Scott's body in the Antarctic in 1912 started a global obsession with him as a man and an explorer. But a central mystery remains—why did he and his companions remain during their last ten days in a tent just 11 miles from the safety of their food and fuel depot? Birdie Bowers, an infamously secretive painter, is a woman with a dead man's name: Henry "Birdie" Bowers was one of Scott's companions. A century after his death, she is determined to discover what really happened to him. On her way to view some of the relics from Scott's tent, she collapses and is rescued by Adam, a bored computer expert—who falls in love with her so completely that he agrees to travel with her to the Antarctic to discover the site of Scott's tent, now encased beneath 30 yards of ice. Dead Men tells the story of two journeys. One is of Scott's tragic exploration of the world's coldest continent; the other is of self-discovery and passion in the present day. A debut that ranks with the best of Sarah Waters or Scarlett Thomas, Dead Men is a novel about obsession, life, and death, and the redemptive power of love."
—From the publisher's website
This is an enjoyable read—an Antarctic love story. Better than most polar novels.
—R. Stephenson
(2 August 2012)

THE SOUTH POLE JOURNALS Henry Bowers. Edited by Heather Lane, Naomi Boneham and Robert D. Smith. Introduction by Anne Strathie. Cambridge: Scott Polar Research Institute, 2012. 95pp. Quarter leather. Letterpress by the Hand & Eye Press. Limited to 200 numbered copies. Price: £130. ISBN: 978-0-901021-17-5. Web:

Another primary source appears. A handsome book, nicely produced.
—R. Stephenson

The Author
Henry Robertson Bowers was one of the five members of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Polar party, who made an heroic attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole in March 1912. Scott had come to rely on Bowers' meticulous planning, physical toughness and dauntless spirit. Seven months before the Pole journey, Bowers had proved himself an asset to the expedition, as one of the three-man team which survived a perilous mission to collect Emperor penguin eggs from Cape Crozier, an undertaking dubbed "The Worst Journey in the World" by fellow team member Apsley Cherry-Garrard.

The Journals
Throughout his time on Scott's expedition, Bowers kept a meticulous diary, which recorded not only the events of each day, but also his own thoughts, hopes and fears. These journals have never before been published. The Scott Polar Research Institute is proud to announce that they will finally be available in a beautifully produced letterpress edition, limited to 200 copies and available by subscription. The volume will also include the letters written home during the Polar journey on pages torn from Bowers' journal and notebooks.

The Limited Edition
In this centenary year of the expedition, an edition has been planned that will not only present the words of Henry Bowers for the first time, but will also be a tangible artefact, redolent of the time at which they were written. Each of the 200 copies of the Journals will be printed directly from lead type and quarter bound in leather.

The Printer
The book will be printed by Hand & Eye Letterpress of London, who have previously worked with The British Library, the Royal Academy of Arts and The Folio Society.

A list of subscribers placing a pre-publication order has been included in the first edition. Proceeds from this venture will be used to make further manuscript materials from the 1910-13 British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition available to a wider audience, in print and online.

The Scott Polar Research Institute
Your subscription will help support the work of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, a centre of excellence in the study of the Arctic and Antarctic. The Institute houses the world's premier polar library and archives, together with extensive art and photographic collections. Its museum tells the story of the polar regions both through history and the ongoing story of scientific research and climate change. It was a finalist in the Art Fund Prize 2011 for Museum of the Year.
Note on the Text
Southern Journey
A Note on the Ponies
Pole Party
Last Return Party
Return Party (3)
Others Mentioned in the Diary
(10 March 2012)

SHACKLETON'S DREAM: FUCHS, HILLARY AND THE CROSSING OF ANTARCTICA Stephen Haddelsey. Stroud: The History Press, 2012. 224 pp. £20.00. Hardback. ISBN: 9780752459264. Web:

I've not seen the book yet; just published last month.
—R. Stephenson
(5 February 2012)

In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton embarked on what he called 'The last great polar journey'—the crossing of Antarctica. His expedition ended in disaster, with the Endurance crushed and the frozen corpses of three explorers left on the Antarctic plateau.
Forty years later Vivian Fuchs and Edmund Hillary, the hero of Everest, set out to succeed where Shackleton had failed. Despite the passage of four decades, the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955-58 encountered many of the obstacles that had so hindered Shackleton—a chronic shortage of funds, inadequate equipment and an early onset of pack-ice. Even more disastrously, it also suffered from a clash of personalities so severe that it came close to destroying the expedition from within.
Based upon interviews with the survivors and upon contemporary diaries and letters, Shackleton's Dream tells for the first time the epic story of this last great expedition of the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration.
STEPHEN HADDELSEY is the author of two books for The History Press, Ice Captain: The Life of Joseph Russell Stenhouse, and Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton, Antarctic Pioneer. He has also contributed to six titles in the Penguin Historical Atlas series. He lives in Nottinghamshire."
—publisher's website

"Haddelsey's Shackleton's Dream is a timely and compelling study of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition. It should go a very long way to redress the balance. Unless new material comes to light in future years, this fine book will surely remain a definitive work. Without question, the Bunny Fuchs's astonishing expedition deserves such a book as this."
—Stephen Scott-Fawcett, Journal of James Caird Society (the premier Shackleton society) in March 2012

(5 February 2012)

From previous mentions:
Stephen Haddelsey e-mails to say that "I'm now working on a new book covering the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955-58. This will be entitled "Shackleton's Dream: Fuchs, Hillary & The Crossing of Antarctica" and is to be published by The History Press in February 2012—though it can already be ordered in advance via Amazon. I have been extraordinarily lucky in being granted access to a huge range of original diaries, letters, etc., and I have also been privileged to interview many of the surviving veterans."
(13 December 2010)

UPDATE: From a recent e-mail from the author: "I thought you might like to know that the MS of "Shackleton's Dream" is now complete and will be posted to my publisher, The History Press, tomorrow.
The book was originally intended to be approximately 110,000 words, but it has swollen to 140,000—though my editor has already told me that this expansion does not present any problem.
The planned publication date is still Feb-March 2012 and I'm pleased to say that my publisher has made "SD" one of their 'key titles' for 2012…
There has been a number of 'advance notices' for the book, including ones from Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Nicholas Owens of the British Antarctic Survey and Beau Riffenburgh, the acclaimed author of many books on polar matters. Ken B has also very kindly provided a comment for the jacket—this is the first time that one of my books has actually been reviewed by one of the expedition participants!
All of this should help to attract potential readers.
The book will also contain more than 30 photographs, which is a very generous allowance, split evenly between the Ross Sea Party and the Weddell Sea Party.
Thank you all for your very generous support during the research and writing of the book—I will, of course, let you know when "Shackleton's Dream" is released."
(29 August 2011)

CAPTAIN SCOTT'S INVALUABLE ASSISTANT: EDGAR EVANS Isobel Williams. Stroud: The History Press, 2012. 192 pp. £12.99. Paperback. ISBN: 9780752458458. Web:

I've not seen the book yet; just published last month.
—R. Stephenson
(5 February 2012)

"Petty Officer Edgar Evans was Captain Scott's 'giant worker' and his 'invaluable assistant'. He went with Scott on both the British Antarctic Expeditions of the early 1900s—the 'Discovery' expedition of 1901 and the 'Terra Nova' expedition in 1910—distinguishing himself on both. In 1903, with Scott, Edgar made the first long and arduous sortie onto the Plateau of Victoria Land. The journey highlighted Edgar's common sense, strength, courage, wit and unflappability. Thus it came as no surprise when, in 1911, Edgar was chosen by Scott to be one of the five men to go on the final attempt at the South Pole.
Tragically the 'Welsh Giant' was the first to die on the ill-fated return, and posthumously Edgar was blamed in some quarters for causing the deaths of the whole party. It was suggested that his failure was due to his relative lack of education, which made him less able to endure the conditions than his well-educated companions.
Isobel Williams repudiates this shameful suggestion and redresses the balance of attention paid to the upper and lower-deck members of Scott's famous expeditions."
—publisher's website

"Excellent new biography on P.O Edgar Evans Antarctic explorer. A must read for anyone interested in the human spirit and the heroic exploration age, gives a new perspective from the working class viewpoint. Evans was a key member of both Captain Scott's Antarctic expeditions and this book if the first to give a full and balanced account of his life and work. Glimpses of this man's extraordinary talent are seen in several books such as Scott's Last Expedition, Frank Debenham's Quiet land and With Scott The Silver Lining. This book gives detail to all Evan's stories, education and journeys with extensive detail in a very readable style. P.O Evans finally receives the praise due in print, 100 years after setting foot at the South Pole. A true hero and fascinating story. A must read for all new and old adventure enthusiasts. Approaching the century of his death, more people should be aware of his legacy."

(5 February 2012)

THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF CAPTAIN SCOTT David M. Wilson. London: Little, Brown, 2011. 191 pp. Profusely illustrated. £30. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-1-4087-0300-7. Web:

"Captain Scott perished with four of his fellow explorers on their return from the South Pole in March 1912. Almost immediately the myth was founded, based on Scott's diaries, turning him into an icon of courage in the face of impossible circumstances.
But during the final months of that journey Scott also took a series of breathtaking photographs: panoramas of the continent, superb depictions of mountains and formations of ice and snow, and photographs of the explorers on the polar trail. But these photos have never been seen—initially fought over, neglected, then lost—until now, that is. For the first time, they are resurrected and are a humbling testament to the men whose graves still lie unmarked in the vastness of the Great Alone."
—publisher's website.

"David Wilson has woven text and photographs, many taken by Scott himself, to produce a wonderful book that really does transport you back to that heroic polar journey. The landscapes of Scott, especially on the Beardmore, are stunning. But for me it is the calm and peaceful photographs of the many stops enroute to the pole that are, well, quite sad. At pony camp (S57, S36) and especially S60, where you can almost stroke Victor, Christopher, and of course Snippets, like all of them captured by Scott so that we, a hundred years later, can witness their moment. Of course we know their fate, but for now, on these pages, they are alive and 'kicking'. Later on we see their epic struggle, the iconic image of polar exploration, those same ponies heading into the whitness of the Antarctic landscape dragging the loaded sledges. We know the story but this book is a great memory to that journey."

Chapter 1 Prelude to the Pole
Chapter 2 The Training of Captain Scott
Chapter 3 The Pole Journey
Chapter 4 Lost and Forgotten
Members pf the Terra Nova Expedition 1910-13
Illustrated Catalogue
A beautifully produced book. The maps are excellent.
—R. Stephenson
(5 February 2012)

EDWARD WILSON'S ANTARCTIC NOTEBOOKS David M. and Christopher J. Wilson. Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing, 2011. 184 pp. Profusely illustrated. £39.99. Hardcover. ISBN: 187419251-0. Web:

"Dr. Edward A. Wilson (1872-1912) is widely regarded as one of the finest artists ever to have worked in the Antarctic. Sailing with Captain Scott aboard 'Discovery' (1901-1904), he became the last in a long tradition of 'exploration artists' from an age when pencil and water-colour were the main methods of producing accurate scientific records of new lands and animal species. He combined scientific, topographical and landscape techniques to produce accurate and beautiful images of the last unknown continent. Such was the strength of his work that it also helped to found the tradition of modern wildlife painting. In particular Wilson captured the essence of the flight and motion of Southern Ocean sea-birds on paper. Returning with Captain Scott aboard 'Terra Nova' (1910-1913) as Chief of Scientific Staff, he continued to record the continent and its wildlife with extraordinary deftness. Chosen to accompany Captain Scott to the South Pole, his last drawings are from one of the most famous epic journeys in exploration history. Along with his scientific work, Wilson's pencil recorded the finding of Roald Amundsen's tent at the South Pole by Captain Scott. Wilson died, along with the other members of the British Pole Party, during the return journey, in March 1912. Many of the images in this book are rarely seen or are previously unpublished. The drawings and paintings were created at considerable personal cost in the freezing conditions in which Wilson worked. He often suffered severely from the cold whilst sketching and also from snow-blindness, or sunburn of the eye. They provide a remarkable testament to one of the great figures of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. The book has been produced as a companion volume to 'Edward Wilson's Nature Notebooks' by two of Wilson's great nephews, to mark the centenary of his death."

Editors' Notes
The Formative Years: 1872-1901
Discovery The British National Antarctic Expedition: 1901-1904
The Natural History of the British Isles: 1904-1910
Terra Nova The British Antarctic Expedition: 1910-1913
In Memoriam - One Hundred Years On: 1912-2012
Select Bibliography and Further Recommended Reading
List of Illustrations and Copyright Acknowledgements

A must for any admirer of Wilson, the pre-eminent Antarctic artist.
—R. Stephenson
(5 February 2012)

THE STORIED ICE: EXPLORATION, DISCOVERY AND ADVENTURE IN ANTARCTICA'S PENINSULA REGION Joan N. Boothe. Berkeley: Regent Press, 2011. 373 pp. Numerous black & white photographs, illustrations and maps. Hardcover $34.95. ISBN: 978-1-58790-224-6. Paperback $24.95, 978-1-58790-218-5. E-book: $14.95 Web: 978-1-58790-181-2. 

I'm not very far into this book yet, but it's clearly an excellent effort and is sure to become a "must have" resource for the Peninsula.
—R. Stephenson
8 January 2012
"THE STORIED ICE Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica's Peninsula Region recounts mankind's dramatic history—from Magellan through the first years of the twenty-first century—in the part of the Antarctic regions below South America and the Atlantic Ocean. This part of the world, by far the most visited portion of the south polar regions, is not only a place of staggering scenic beauty and amazing wildlife, but also a locale with a long and fascinating human history.

Several expeditions to Antarctica's Peninsula Region are well known, in particular, the amazing story of Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition. THE STORIED ICE dramatically retells that story, along with many other less familiar, but fascinating, adventures—tales of early explorers, sealers, whalers, seven expeditions (including Endurance) during Antarctica's 18971917 Heroic Age, pioneer aviators, and scientists. . . . All this is woven together into a coherent whole, placing the individually exciting tales in a historical context that breathes new life into even the best known of them. Abundant quotes from the explorers' accounts enrich the text, as do the nearly 100 illustrations and more than 30 maps. The Storied Ice is unique in the rich literature on Antarctica, the only modern comprehensive Antarctic history work that both focuses specifically on the historically exciting Antarctic Peninsula and tells its complete story.

The Antarctic summer of 2011-12 marks the centennial of numerous momentous events in Antarctica's Heroic Age of exploration. Among these: Roald Amundsen's December 1911 reaching the South Pole; Robert Falcon Scott's achieving the same goal five weeks later, in January 1912, and then dying, along with all of his polar team, on the journey back; Douglas Mawson's establishing a base in East Antarctica at a place he later called "The Home of the Blizzard;" and Wilhelm Filchner's strife-ridden expedition into the Weddell Sea that laid the groundwork for what became Shackleton's Endurance expedition three years later. Further, it also marks the mid-point of the centennial of the entire Heroic Age. Reflecting these centennials, interest in the exciting adventures of Antarctic history has never been higher, as evidenced by the number of Antarctic-related books, both popular and scholarly, that that have come out in the past several years.

THE STORIED ICE is a worthy addition to the best of these, a history written for the educated layperson with scholarly accuracy and documentation. But this is not "just one more" Antarctic book. The Storied Ice is unique in that it concentrates on the portion of the Antarctic regions whose history has often been overshadowed by events in the Ross Sea Region, such as "Race for the South Pole." As such, it offers the reader not only new adventures, but also context for the known stories that greatly enriches them.

Joan N. Boothe has been fascinated with stories of Antarctic adventure and exploration since childhood. In 1995, after many years working in the worlds of economics, finance, and teaching business administration to graduate business students, she at last made her first trip to Antarctica and saw where so many things she had read about took place. Ms. Boothe has returned to the Antarctic regions many times since, including making a 67-day circumnavigation of the entire Antarctic continent aboard an icebreaker. In 2010, she taught a course on Antarctica's Heroic Age for Stanford University's continuing studies program. Ms Boothe has two children, both raised in San Francisco, California, where she and her husband have lived since 1970.

Many popular historical accounts either repeat inaccuracies and half truths of earlier publications, they gloss over the detail which sooften is crucial for a real understanding of events, or they do both. Scholarly works if successful avoid this, but often at the expense of being readable. . . . It is particularly refreshing then to find a popular work which is both readable and incredibly well researched. The human side of the expeditions, depth of information and the interconnections and friendships between many of its protagonists is also something which is missing from the more superficial accounts and present in rich layers in this book. I found [an early draft of this book] an invaluable and concise reference, to the extent that when lecturing as an Historian on Antarctic cruises, I left many of my own notes behind because I found The Storied Ice more convenient to transport and handle. That copy is sadly lying in cabin 200 aboard MV Explorer some 1,130 metres below the Bransfield Strait. After the wrecking, a replacement copy . . . was amongst the first of the items I sought. I am often asked to recommend a readable introduction to the region's history. . . . That book would be The Storied Ice. — Damien Sanders British Antarctic Survey, South Orkneys and South Georgia, 1979-82 Author, book on Antarctic sealer Thomas W. Smith History Lecturer on Antarctic Tour Ships since 2004.

. . . The Storied Ice . . . covers so much history, including the famous stories of the 'Heroic Age', but much, much more.. . Many explorers play a part in this book and history and adventure are covered in a wonderful, woven tale. I could not put it down. —Erica Wikander Past Executive Vice President, Quark Expeditions (Member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators)

. . . a masterful, well-documented and scholarly work, presenting the history of exploration of Antarctica south of Cape Horn in a highly readable style designed for the educated layperson. Boothe emphasizes Antarctica's most accessible region, one steeped in tales of discoveries, hardship, and early explorations . . . numerous excellent maps track the routes. . . She has visited Antarctica on numerous cruise voyages so she knows many areas firsthand. The book does not duplicate another, and I highly recommend it. — Arthur B. Ford, Ph.D. Research Geologist, USGS, retired; Past President, Antarctican Society; Author, Antarctica, Encyclopedia Britannica.

Antarctica . . . . has been approached from every possible angle, whether scientific, specialized about penguins, glitzy photo books for coffee tables, and accounts of explorers and expeditions. [The Storied Ice] . . . , however, has done a major service in producing an account of everything Antarctic . . . in succinct prose with accompanying information that is often found scattered in various other books and articles. . . . Joan's experience and background in travel in Antarctica and her keen interest is well illustrated in the book. . . . It is easy to feel her enthusiasm about this remote part of the world, which spins off to the reader. — John Splettstoesser Geologist (retired) Past President, American Polar Society (2003-06) Past President, Antarctican Society (2002-04).

The book is extraordinarily well researched and an engagingly written account of historic events about which I . . . have previously known very little. The vignettes are fascinating as is the historical record . . . memorialize(d). — The Honorable Walter C. Minnick Former Congressman, D ID"


Ch. 1 - In Search of a Southern Continent: Efforts Prior to 1819
Ch. 2 - The Continent Found: 1819-1821
Ch. 3 - The Sealers' Age of Discovery: 1821-1839
Ch. 4 - Three Great National Expeditions: 1837-1843
Ch. 5 - Quiet Decades in the South; the New Hunters: 1844-1896
Ch. 6 - De Gerlache and the First Antarctic Night: 1897-1899
Ch. 7 - Nordenskjöld's Saga of Survival: 1901-1903
Ch. 8 - Bruce and the Scotia, Bagpipes in the South: 1902-1904
Ch. 9 - Charcot and the Françrais Explore the Antarctic Peninsula: 1903-1905
Ch. 10 - Whalers and Politics: 1904-1918
Ch. 11 - Charcot's Return with the Pourquoi-Pas?: 1908-1910
Ch. 12 - Filchner's Battles in the Weddell Sea: 1911-1912
Ch. 13 - Endurance, Shackleton's Triumphant Failure: 1914-1916
Ch. 14 - The Decade Following World War I: 1919-1927
Ch. 15 - The First Aviators Arrive: 1928-1936
Ch. 16 - The Wintering Explorers Return: 1934-1941
Ch. 17 - World War II, New Bases, and Political Conflict: 1940-1955
Ch. 18 - The International Geophysical Year and the Antarctic Treaty: 1955-1959
Ch.19- The Antarctic Treaty Era: Antarctica After 1959
Appendix A: Antarctic Timeline
Appendix B: Antarctic Firsts
Appendix C: Glossary of Terms, Abbreviations, and Acronyms
Sources and Notes
Literature Cited


Joan Boothe e-mails to say:

"I have completed the manuscript for a inclusive history focused on Antarctica's South American Sector (South Shetlands, Peninsula, Weddell Sea, South Orkneys, South Shetlands, South Georgia). The working title is The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery and Adventure in Antarctica's South American Sector. Despite the fact that this is by far the most visited portion of Antarctica, amazingly no such focused history has been published to date. Instead, we have general Antarctic histories, books about specific expeditions such as Endurance, books about specific periods of time, or natural history books about the region. The work is a comprehensive history, beginning with Magellan and going through the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. Unlike other works that provide history of this region, this book focuses on only this part of Antarctica and presents the dramatic human story there in an evolutionary fashion, linking the events and expeditions together in a way. This is particularly important during the Heroic Age, where many histories often present expeditions one by one as if they occurred in isolation. I also make an attempt to give due attention to ALL the major paritcipants, not just the most famous ones or those from selected countries. In addition, the sealers and whalers also get their due with regard to their contribution to exploration and discovery. In short, this work attempts to present a complete and integrated picture-all written in an engaging fashion that conveys my passion for the subject.
Several Antarctic experts, including John Splettstoesser, have seen early drafts and commented positively. At this point I am in the process of seeking a publisher (any thoughts would be welcome!)."
(3 March 2007)

UPDATE: A recent e-mail from Joan reports: "My book, The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica's Peninsula Region, should be coming out in late summer. Publisher is Regent Press. Right now, we're working on completing maps, getting permissions for illustrations (of which there are many), compiling index, doing layout, etc.—in short, all the bits and pieces necessary to have a book ready to go. The content runs from Magellan through the first decade of the 21st century. For more detail, I've attached a copy of my overview description of the book, which was used in submissions to publishers [below]. There's just a passing reference there to the two appendices, but they are really something special, many pages long and in great detail. The table of firsts is genuinely a first, at least as far as I know, for a published book."
The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica's Peninsula Region recounts mankind's dramatic history—from Magellan through the first years of the twenty-first centuryin one of the most hostile places on Earth, that part of the Antarctic lying below South America and the Atlantic Ocean. Collectively referred to in The Storied Ice as the Antarctic Peninsula region (or simply Peninsula region), this includes South Georgia Island, the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkney and South Shetland island groups, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the vast Weddell Sea and its ice-choked coasts. This part of the world, by far the most visited portion of the south polar regions, is a place of staggering scenic beauty and amazing wildlife, a place so visually stunning that its long and equally fascinating human history is sometimes overlooked. The Storied Ice has been written to give the Antarctic Peninsula region's human chronicle its due, a goal reflected in the suggested title for this work. By the time a reader has finished this book, he or she will know that this is indeed a "Storied Ice."
Many readers will already be familiar with some of the events recounted in The Storied Ice, because several expeditions to the book's subject area are widely celebrated in the lore of exploration and adventure. Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition comes to mind at once. His amazing story is here, in its own gripping chapter, but the Storied Ice does something that most other accounts do not. This book offers this famous epic, along with dozens of other, less familiar adventures, as parts of an evolving narrative, weaving together the threads of these expeditions and events into a coherent whole. Explorers, sealers, whalers, seven amazing expeditions during Antarctica's 1897-1917 Heroic Age, pioneer aviators and scientists, even an erupting volcano and a war. All are here, their stories vividly narrated and placed in a historical context that breathes new life into even the best-known tales.
A single book of a reasonable length can cover only the highlights of 500 years of history, and the necessary summarizations and simplifications have required many hard decisions about what to include or exclude. But unlike many Antarctic histories, which emphasize the most famous stories, or expeditions mounted from the author's own country, The Storied Ice includes and credits all who played important roles, no matter their homeland or occupation. The book also enriches the story with numerous nuggets—a beauty contest; pet penguins, seals, a pig and a kangaroo; an enterprising stowaway; a bagpipe concert for penguins; a cardboard Christmas tree; an omnivorous pony; Wyatt Earp's personal cartridge belt; and many more. Abundant quotes from the explorers' own accounts further color the text.
The Storied Ice is intended primarily for an educated lay audience: potential or actual visitors to the Antarctic Peninsula region, polar history buffs, armchair travelers, and lovers of adventure generally. But Antarctic scholars will also find this work of interest. Although written in an engaging, non-academic style, it rests on a solid scholarly foundation: more than ten years of research in the Antarctic literature, including reading primary sources for every major expedition to the region, as well for nearly all those to elsewhere in the Antarctic. The result is not only a comprehensive historical narrative, but also a work offering original analysis, new material, and critical small details, some very little-known, that help explain much more significant events. The book also contains two detailed appendixes: an Antarctic Timeline and a table of Antarctic Firsts. Together these place happenings in the Peninsula region in the context of both overall Antarctic history and concurrent world events. A section following the appendixes thoroughly documents the major sources used for the book and provides citations for quotations incorporated in the text. Literature Cited and an index conclude the book.
But is such a book really needed? From years of reading the Antarctic historical literature, I have concluded that there is indeed a place for a work focused on the Peninsula region. Antarctic histories published to date are either general, covering the entire Antarctic; concerned with the Ross Sea region, on the opposite side of the Antarctic continent from the Peninsula region; focused on the explorations by one country; devoted to limited periods of Antarctic history such as the Heroic Age; concentrated on particular expeditions like Shackleton's Endurance; or centered on specific subject topics such as science, natural history, or politics. No existing work that I am aware of does what The Storied Ice does—focus on and tell the complete story of discovery and exploration in the historically exciting Antarctic Peninsula region. For a visitor to this locale, this book will be the historical work.
(24 February 2011)

THE JAPANESE SOUTH POLAR EXPLEDITION 1910-12; A RECORD OF ANTARCTICA Nobu Shirase. Compiled and Edited by the Shirase Antarctic Expedition Supporters' Association. Translated into English by Lara Dagnell and Hilary Shibata, Norwich and Bluntisham: The Erskine Press and Bluntisham Books, 2011. 414 pp. Eight pages of illustrations in color and 100 black & white illustrations. £35. Hardcover. ISBN: 978 1 85297 109 0. Web: 

"The Japanese Antarctic Expedition, 1910-12, under the leadership of army lieutenant Nobu Shirase was the first exploration of Antarctic territory by Japan. After initial scepticism about the expedition they sailed from Tokyo on 29 November 1910, in Kainan-maru, a vessel only 100 feet in length. They arrived in Wellington on 8 February 1911 and three days later departed for the Antarctic.

The entire trip south was dogged by poor weather and when the coast of Victoria Land was finally sighted conditions were so bad that a landing was impossible. They sailed on through the Ross Sea only to find even worse ice and soon it was impossible to go any further. Shirase ordered the crew to turn the ship northward for Australia. They arrived in Sydney on 1 May, 1911 and were initially greeted with suspicion and hostility. Captain Nomura went back to Japan, with the secretary to the expedition, returning some five months later with provisions, ships' parts and other equipment.

During the following season a second attempt was made to reach an Antarctic landfall, with the specific objective of exploring King Edward VII Land. At the Great Ice Barrier they met Roald Amundsen's ship Fram, which was waiting in the Bay of Whales for the return of Amundsen's South Pole party. Seven men were landed on the Barrier and a 'Dash Patrol' journeyed southward to 80°05'S, at which point adverse weather and lack of food and time forced their return. Meanwhile the ship landed another party on the coast of King Edward VII Land, where an exploration of the lower slopes of the Alexandra Range was carried out.

In mid-February Kainan-maru returned to Japan, reaching Yokohama on 20 June 1912. The expedition had sailed some 27,000 miles since leaving Japan and despite not reaching the Pole, they had achieved many of their other goals. There was a tremendous reception upon their return to Tokyo. Nobu Shirase died in 1946."

—From the publisher's website.

Notes on the translation
Members of the Expedition
Introduction: Lt. Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-12—the historical background
Foreword by Count Shigenobu Okuma
1. Prologue
2. The first voyage to Antarctica
3. The winter encampment in Sydney
4. The second voyage to Antarctica
5. Inland explorations by the Main Landing Party
6. The exploration of King Edward VII Land
7. The eastward voyage of Kainan-maru
8. The voyage home

Scientific appendices
I An account of the investigation of specimens collected in the Antarctic regions
II Table of meteorological observations
III A study of rock fragments found in the stomachs of penguins
IV A report on the provisions
V A report on the cold weather clothing and equipment
VI A report on the Karafuto dogs and the sledges
VII The report of the Medical Officer
VIII The special ice-strengthened design of Kainan-maru
IX The Captain's report on the voyage to the Antarctic regions
X A summary of activities in support of the Antarctic Expedition
Dramatis personae
The first English version of Shirase's account of his 1910-12 expedition has finally been issued after several years of delays and setback. Surely the Japanese explorer will become better known as a result. I have just received my copy so haven't had an opportunity to delve into it but it is nicely produced and has a lot of illustrations and photographs, nearly all of which will be new to the reader. Bluntisham and Erskine deserve credit for their perseverance in getting this out.
—R. Stephenson
(5 January 2012)

SCOTT'S FORGOTTEN SURGEON; DR REGINALD KOETTLITZ, POLAR EXPLORER by Aubrey A. Jones. Dunbeath, Scotland: Whittles Publishing, Ltd., 2011. 209pp. Paperbound. Illustrated. £18.99. ISBN 978-1-84995-038-1. Web:
"• An insight into the vital role played by Dr. Reginald Koettlitz during the heroic period of polar exploration.
• Covers the four main expeditions undertaken by Koettlitz, leading up to the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition.
• Includes previously unseen photographs and correspondence.

'…In this year celebrating the centenary of the conquering of the South Pole…it is more than fitting to have one of the unregarded figures of Antarctic history brought into the limelight of remembrance'. —Extract from Introduction by Dr. Ross D.E. MacPhee, American Museum of Natural History.

As senior surgeon on board Discovery, Dr. Reginald Koettlitz played a vital role in the heroic period of polar exploration when Nansen, Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott dominated the headlines. He was awarded a medal by the Royal Geographical Society for his role in the Discovery Expedition, 190-04.
During the earlier successful three-year Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition to Franz Josef Land, Koettlitz fine-tuned his measures to prevent scurvy, became an experienced ski runner, dog and pony handler and expert in polar survival. These skills were available when Koettlitz was appointed senior surgeon on the Discovery Expedition led by Scott, but due to personal reasons and the inability to acknowledge Koettlitz's polar experience, both Scott's expeditions were beset by major life-threatening issues that Koettlitz had faced and resolved on Franz Josef Land. On the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition Scott and his four companions died on their failed attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole.
In addition, Koettlitz travelled across north-east Africa from Berbera to Cairo on foot, mule and camel, crossing the Blue Nile to Khartoum shortly after the Battle of Omdurman. Before leaving for South Africa he assisted Shackleton in planning the Nimrod Expedition which almost resulted in the South Pole being reached.
This well-researched account is enriched with previously unseen archive material such as correspondence with Nansen and photographs relating to polar history during the period 1890-1916."
—From the publisher's website
Discovering Koettlitz

Part 1: Origins of the Man
1 From Prussia to Dover
2 A Practice in Durham
3 Frederick George Jackson

Part 2: Early Expeditions
4 Franz Josef Land and the Elra
5 The Expedition Sets Out
6 The First Winter at Cape Flora
7 Spring Sledging Operations Commence
8 Russian Roulette and Heading West
9 Death nears the Mary Harmsworth
10 The Second Winter at Cape Flora
11 Jackson Heads North Once More
12 An Historic Moment
13 The Final Year at Cape Flora
14 The Geology of Franz Josef Land

Part 3: Through Africa and South America
15 Weld Blundell Expedition to Africa
16 For England and St George
17 Homeward Bound
18 Planning for the Antarctic
19 Liverpool to Manaos
20 The Antarctic Beckons

Part 4: Antarctica
21 To The South
22 Through the Southern Ocean
23 The First winter on Antarctica
24 Sledging Season 1902-1903
25 Shackleton's Departure
26 The Mystery of Colour Photography
27 The Second Winter and Surgery
28 The Release of the Discovery

Part 5: Return to Africa
29 Final Days in England
30 The Rural Doctor and Farmer
31 Death of an Explorer

Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition to Franz Josef Land 1894-1897
Herbert Weld Blundell Expedition to North East Africa 1898-1899
National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904
First colour photographs of the Antarctic continent by Dr Reginald Koettlitz 1902-1904
My conclusion after reading this biography is that Koettlitz should have received more attention both during his life time (cut short at 55) and in later years. He was involved in four expeditions, three of which were polar. Certainly he was best known for his participation in Scott's Discovery expedition but seems to have been relegated to the sidelines. In part, his personality was a factor. As is clear from the book, he didn't fit in very well with the officers and other members of the scientific staff.
That Koettlitz was an intimate of both William Speirs Bruce and the great Nansen was welcomed new knowledge.
I skimmed over the non-Antarctic portions pretty quickly but did take away the fact that Koettlitz had through his time in the arctic become quite adept at skiing, dog handling and surviving in a cold climate. The author brings this up more than once and goes on to be critical of Scott for not taking adventage of this knowledge, even suggesting that things might have turned out differently in 1911-12 had he done so. (Jones is clearly in the Roland Huntford camp.)
The Koettlitz family (the author's wife is a descendant) has a large collection of Koettlitz artifacts and papers which has made this biography possible. Sadly some material has long been lost. Not only his journal but his 58 color photographs. This is the first I've known that color photography was done on the Discovery expedition and that Koettlitz was the photographer. Ponting is usually credited with taking the first color photographs in the Antarctc—and they weren't very good at that. Hurley's during the Endurance expedition seem to be the first that were at all worthwhile. The photographs were lost early on and details remain a mystery but the dates and subjects of the photographs were recorded and these are included in the book.
I was particularly pleased to see Koettlitz's sledge flag illustrated. A wholly different design appears in vol 1 of the South Polar Times. Jones says that a "variation on this flag was ultimately approved…" so this one may not have been flown.
And I was also pleased to find another "Low-Latitude" site to add to my collection, now standing at 1047: the graves of Koettlitz and his wife in Cradock, South Africa. Photos of the monument appear in the book.

We should all know by now what the most often misspelled word in the Antarctic lexicon is. Lyttleton appears throughout. (Perhaps Lyttelton should think about changing its name.)
Another common error is repeated here. The Wilson's Storm Petrel is named for the ornithologist Alexander Wilson, not Edward A. Wilson.
Charles Bonner did fall from the main mast of Discovery as it was departing Lyttelton but the "short delay" was two days and he was buried in Port Chalmers, not Charmers. (The monument was restored a few years ago.)
Cape Crosier should be Crozier, named for Captain Francis Crozier who commanded the Terror.
Scott was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) not a Member (MVO).
These slips aside and despite the bias against Scott, this book represents a significant addition to the literature of polar exploration.
—R. Stephenson
(8 December 2011)

THE ROOF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD; DISCOVERING THE TRANSANTARCTIC MOUNTAINS Edmund Stump, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011. 254 pp. 129 color illustrations, 15 black & white illustratons. $29.95 Hardcover. ISBN: 9780300171976. Web:
There is a blog for the book at It includes a number of phtotos from the book.

"The Transantarctic Mountains are the most remote mountain belt on Earth, an utterly pristine wilderness of ice and rock rising to majestic heights and extending for 1,500 miles. In this book, Edmund Stump is the first to show us this continental-scale mountain system in all its stunning beauty and desolation, and the first to provide a comprehensive, fully illustrated history of the region's discovery and exploration.

The author not only has conducted extensive research in the Transantarctic Mountains during his forty-year career as a geologist but has also systematically photographed the entire region. Selecting the best of the best of his more than 8,000 photographs, he presents nothing less than the first atlas of these mountains. In addition, he examines the original firsthand accounts of the heroic Antarctic explorations of James Clark Ross (who discovered the mountain range in the early 1840s), Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Roald Amundsen, Richard Byrd, and scientists participating in the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958). From these records, Stump is now able to trace the actual routes of the early explorers with unprecedented accuracy. With maps old and new, stunning photographs never before published, and tales of intrepid explorers, this book takes the armchair traveler on an expedition to the Antarctic wilderness that few have ever seen.

Edmund Stump is professor of exploration at Arizona State University. He is also a geologist, polar explorer, mountaineer, and photographer specializing in the geology of the Transantarctic Mountains. He has served as principal investigator or chief scientist on many scientific field trips to Antarctica, most recently a 2010-2011 National Science Foundation expedition to the Beardmore Glacier area. He lives in Tempe, AZ."

"The modern maps and images on which [Stump] reconstructs the passages of the early explorers are a significant and unequaled achievement, created with a passion that seems obvious looking at them."—Guy G. Guthridge, National Science Foundation

"A superbly illustrated book on the least known mountain range in the world. Stump's informed text combines exploration history and modern science, and the photographs bring the Antarctic landscape to life."—Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University

"Noted geologist, Stump, leads us to the majestic mountains of Antarctic both as scientist and a writer with a passion for polar history. A noteworthy achievement."—Ross A. Virginia, Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science Director, Institute of Arctic Studies Dartmouth College Hanover NH

"Combining history and magnificent imagery, this book takes you into an icy landscape like no other on Earth. Following the footsteps of the explorers who first broke ground, it is the next best thing to being there, with none of the hardship and misery."—Ranulph Fiennes

"This book is a tour de force of Antarctic stories and photos, sweeping the reader along in a powerful journey of history, science, and the joy of discovery."—Susan Solomon, author of The Coldest March and National Medal of Science Laureate

"Stump passionately reveals the forgotten history of a far-off world, weaving into it his personal experience and rare images from a lifetime exploring and understanding the world's last mountains."—Damien Gildea, author of Mountaineering In Antarctica: Climbing in The Frozen South
—From the publisher's website.

1. Through the Portal: Discoveries along Coastal Victoria Land
2. From the Sea to the Ice Plateau: The Crossing of Victoria Land
3. Fire, Ice, and the Magnetic Pole: Further Discoveries in Victoria Land
4. Penetrating the Interior: Discoveries in the Central Transantarctic Mountains
5. Beyond the Horizon: Discoveries in the Queen Maud Mountains
6. Earth's Land's End: The Exploraton of Scott Glacier
7. To the IGY and Beyond: Filling in the Spaces
Appendix 1: The Rock Cycle
Appendix 2: Geologic Time
This impressive book arrived a day or so ago and I've only had a chance to flip through the pages. Awhile back I had seen some aerial photos and maps produced by Ed that had the routes of Scott, Shackleton, etc., superimposed on them. They were terrific and are a feature of this book. Once I delve into it, I will add some more comments.
—R. Stephenson
(15 October 2011)

ORDEAL BY ICE: SHIPS OF THE ANTARCTIC by Rorke Bryan. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Sheridan House, Inc., 2011. To be published late October. 536pp (given incorrectly on publishers' websites). Profusely illustrated with black & white and color photographs, plans and drawings. $45. ISBN 978-1-57409-312-4. Web:
Also published in Ireland by the Collins Press and now available at €39.99 (but also given on the Collins Press website as available online at €31.99). Web:
Published in the UK, New Zealand and Australia by Seaforth Publishing and now available at £35 (but also given on the Seaforth website at £28.) Web: lists it at £24.50. Not available yet on amazon USA.
Rorke Bryan starts off the Acknowledgments by saying "writing this book has been a labour of love…" It's immediately obvious that an awful lot of labor and love went into it. It's an extraordinarily impressive book and will serve as an invaluable reference for decades to come. Often a book replaces an earlier effort, updating and expanding upon it. Not in this case: there was no earlier effort. The closest to one is perhaps Lincoln Paine's Ships of Discovery and Exploration (Houghton Mifflin, 2000), a much slimmer volume and covering the world not just the Antarctic. Or books such as that by Ann Savours on Discovery and Mike Tarver on Terra Nova. But these are books about a single ship; Ordeal by Ice discusses over 200 ships (based on Index entries). But the book is far more than a discussion of ships that have ventured south; it really covers extensively the history of man's involvement in the Antarctic from the earliest time, far before Captain Cook, right up to 2011. In fact a fairer title might have been 'The History of Antarctica and the ships associated with its exploration and development', or similar. You get the idea: it's much more than an annotated listing of ships' names, where built, length and tonnage, expeditions involved with, final fate.
There are many, many illustrations that will be new to the reader, a good number from photographs taken by the author. The maps are top rate, clear and uncluttered.
I've just given my copy a quick look but hope to have some further things to say once I get into the text. But suffice it to say that any Antarctic or maritime historian, writer, researcher or collector should obtain a copy with all speed.
—R. Stephenson
(1 October 2011)
About the author: "Rorke Bryan has had a lifelong interest in Antarctica, triggered by seeing Scott of the Antarctic as an eight-year old in his native Dublin. The son of a merchant mariner, he has visited many parts of the world during his career with the British Antarctic Survey and in environmental conservation, forestry and development at the Universities of Alberta and Toronto. His interests include sailing, mountaineering and skiing."
Acknowledgments (2pp)
Introduction (3pp)
Chapter 1: First Encounters with the Southern Ocean
Chapter 2: In the Ice with Resolution
Chapter 3: The South Shetland 'Seal Rrush' and the 'First' Discovery of Antarctica
Chapter 4: The Threshold of the Continent
Chapter 5: The Dawn of the 'Heroic Age'
Chapter 6: Nationalism and the Antarctic 'Exploraton Rush'
Chapter 7: Triumph and Tragedy: the Race to the South Pole
Chapter 8: The Aftermath of the South Polar Obsession
Chapter 9: Commercial Whaling and Territorial Claims
Chapter 10: The Changing Role of Ships
Chapter 11: A New Era in a 'Continent for Science'
Chapter 12: Whalers, Scientists and Tourists
Epilogue (1p)
Appendix 1: Sail Plans of Representative Ships (2pp)
Appendix 2: Guide to Currency Rates and Purchasing Power (2pp)
Appendix 3: Ice Classification of Vessels (2pp)
References (13pp)
Glossary (5pp)
Bibliography (7pp)
Index (8pp)
"Surrounded by some of the most hazardous seas, Antarctica was first sighted less than three centuries ago. Since then, hundreds of ships have voyaged in Antarctic waters, challenged by poorly charted waters, storms, pack ice, icebergs, and disease.
A richly illustrated book, Ordeal by Ice tells the story of these ships, the expeditions they supported, and their subsequent history, from the fifteenth-century fleets of the Ming Emporers of China to today's tourist ships and powerful icebreakers. Using extensive research in archives, museums, libraries, and private sources, Rorke Bryan brings the stories of these ships into one comprehensive record.
Familiar names such as TERRA NOVA and ENDURANCE feature with unfamiliar-but-equally important ships. From the many tales of heroic seamanship, the extraordinary 1830-1832 circumnavigation by Captain John Briscoe in the tiny TULA is perhaps matched only by Shackleton's voyage in the JAMES CAIRD. Plans, photos, paintings, and maps enhance description of the expeditions and ships.
This authoritative work fills an important gap in Antarctic literature and will become the reference book on ships and the Antarctic."
—From the Sheridan House website.

From past notices:

Rorke Bryan e-mails to say his book on ships important in Antarctic history "…will be published in August, 2011 by The Collins Press, Cork, Ireland…The book is intended to provide a comprehensive history of virtually all the ships which have made a significant contribution to Antarctic research and exploration from the earliest hypothesized voyages right up to 2010."

This will surely be a welcomed addition to Antarctic reference resources.
—R. Stephenson
(24 November 2010)

UPDATE: Rorke e-mails to say that "the lead publisher will be The Collins Press, but it will also be published in Britain, New Zealand and Australia by Seaforth Publishing of Barnsley, and in the US and Canada by Sheridan House in New York." The book will be launched at the annual Shackleton Autumn School in Athy 29-31 October 2011.
—R. Stephenson
(29 March 2011)

SAILOR ON ICE: TOM CREAN; WITH SCOTT IN THE ANTARCTIC David Hirzel. Pacifica, CA: Terra Nova Press, 2011. 279pp. 3 maps. $18.50 from Amazon. Softcover ISBN: 9780615452463. Web:

"Some men are born for the sea. They run away to it early in life, and it shapes their adolescence and young manhood, their view of themselves and the world, and everything that follows. Tom Crean was one such a man.

A sailor's world is defined by the boundaries set by the rail of his ship. Beyond that rail, at an indeterminate distance, he sees but cannot reach the endless circle of the horizon dividing the blue water below from the blue sky above. It appears the same wherever in the world his ship may be, afloat on the heaving swells of any one of the seven seas. The sky and water may not always be blue—they may be gray, white with driving foam and fog, obscured by night, defined by stars, calm and flat as a mirror glass or risen in waves beaten by ceaseless gales. It is always so, changeless and ever changing, the same and never the same.

This is in part the allure of the sea, this placement of man against nature, overwhelmed by nature, defined by nature, and if he comes home to tell the tale, in some small measure triumphant against forces far greater than his limited power.

The call of the ice is not so different from the call of the sea. The horizon is much the same, the sky above as blue while the ice below has taken the place of water as far as the eye can see. The ice can assume many colors other than its anticipated white; descriptions of it are full of words like azure, lemon, topaz, aquamarine. But its apparent end is still a horizon always out of reach, its undulations and sudden motions as treacherous as a rogue wave to the unwary traveler. Some men are born with a love of this.

The sound of brash ice scraping along the side of the ship with a sound like broken glass shaken in a box is a lullaby to their ears, a familiar song they know long before the first time the hear it. The ever present knowledge that their ship might be gored by a floe and sink without a trace only serves to heighten their desire. "What the ice gets, the ice keeps." Shackleton was referring to more than the doomed Endurance splintering under the irresistible pressure of sea-ice in motion.

Sir Ernest Shackleton had known the siren call of the hundreds of miles of the unbroken plain of the Barrier ice, the slow-motion rapids of the glacier, the bleak white desert of the plateau, the coldest place on earth. A host of other explorers had followed the call of the ice and come home with tales of wonder and suffering, as though the two experiences were somehow unalterably linked. Tom Crean heard it too."
—From the Terra Nova Press website.
1. Another Departure
2. The Gale
3. Landing at Cape Evans
4. Trial on Sea Ice
5. Roughing it—Life at Hut Point
6. Winter Quarters at Cape Evans
7. The South Polar Trail
8. The Glacier
9. The Long Walk Home
10. Another Winter
11. The Search
Appendix 1: Crew List
Appendix 2: Glossary
Appendix 3: Bibliography
Tom Crean was a major figure in three Antarctic expeditions: Discovery, Terra Nova and Endurance. This book looks at Crean's role in the Terra Nova or Scott's Last Expedition, so don't think of it as a biography. Even in its focus on Terra Nova it's more of a non-fiction novel than a straightforward account of Crean and the expedition. There's a lot of dialogue that's made up but it's generally believable dialogue. Although self-published and not benefiting from such things as copy editors—there are many typos and stylistic anomolies—it is nonetheless a good read written by someone who has a passion for the subject.

The author maintains a blog at

Also have a look at his online audiodrama focusing on Tom Crean. The first two episodes have been released. There will be an eventual total of ten (three on Discovery, four on Terra Nova, three on Endurance). You can find out more about this undertaking and download the first two episodes (free) at

—R. Stephenson
(22 October 2011)

UPDATE: David e-mails to say that "I'm happy to announce that Sailor on Ice is now available as an eBook for reading on Kindle, Nook, and other digital readers as well as .pdf for personal computers and laptops.
(Nook and other formats):

(3 January 2013)

ANTARCTIC VISIONS Poems by Nina Carey Tassi and photos by Pat Roach. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation, 2011. 64 pp. Numerous photographs in color. $28.14 from Amazon. Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4568-5834-6. Softcover ISBN: 978-1-4568-5833-9. Web:

These poems and photos are the result of a Quark cruise in 2008 that the poet and photographer obviously enjoyed, and during which they came away deeply affected by the experience. After a three-page introduction summarizing their trip, they go on in this self-published book to include mostly single-page poems interspersed with color photographs and a few historic images. Both women are experienced in what they do.
I'm unable to give an informed opinion on the quality of the poetry. It's just not my genre. But I do like the last twelve poems which are on Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. Or rather I like the subject matter. I would guess that these are the ones of greater substance.
The photographs are good, actually pretty good when you stop to consider the photographer only had a week or so to accomplish what she did.

—R. Stephenson
(5 September 2011)

ANTARCTICA; AN ENCYCLOPEDIA John Stewart. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2011. 1771 pp. (2 vols) $495. 978-0-7864-3590-6. E-book ISBN-13: 978-0-7864-8917-6. Web:

"This second edition of the 1990 Library Journal "Best Reference" book, four years in the compiling and writing, is an exhaustive A-Z direct-entry encyclopedia of Antarctica. It doubles the first edition's entries to 30,000, covering geographical features, historical events, explorers, expeditions, airplanes, ships, scientists, scientific stations, tour operators, scientific terms, birds, animals, insects, flora, items of general interest and much more. "Antarctica" is defined as all land and water south of 60°S.
Information for geographical features is drawn primarily from national gazetteers, both current and old, and is not limited to English-language sources. Extensive cross-referencing simplifies the continent's often bewildering nomenclature--geographical features' names, for example, may vary widely from one national gazetteer to the next, and are further complicated by having been named and renamed multiple times, and in many languages, through the years. All linguistic variations of placenames are included and cross-referenced."
—From the publisher's website

From past notices:

John Stewart e-mails to say a new edition of his Antarctica; An Encyclopedia will probably appear in he middle of 2011. (The first two-volume edition is on the shelf of many Antarcticans. It's always been a quick reference to turn to. To know more about the first edition than you will ever need to know, go to

He reports that it will be over 2 million words. Also…
"I don't know how many entries yet, but perhaps 60,000, and with all the cross-references that should be there bringing it up to over 100,000. Just a guess, but it feels right.

One of the great differences this time is the biographies, thousands of them.

Bios on pretty much everyone who was in Antarctica prior to WWII. … In most cases, a good, chunky paragraph.

All of the pre-1962 FIDS have been interviewed, where possible, and also several post-1962 ones.

There's a FIDS checklist—alphabetical list of ALL Fids who ever wintered-over, with last name, first names, nicknames, and years (that's under Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey). Over 2,000 of 'em.

All the FIDS bases have huge bios themselves—complete cast every year from the beginning to the present (full names), plus functions, nicknames, events, and so on.

Same with the FIDS ships—the Biscoes, the Shack, etc. Very detailed stuff, in many cases log-book type.

Hundreds of ships of all nationalities biographized, so to speak.

Much expanded entries on the expeditions of all nationalities—chronological (bold for date, ordinary type for event, and so on. Some of the expeditions are HUGE).

Every country's scientific station and refugio, hut, camp, etc, is biographized. Some of the entries are enormous. The FIDS bases and the American, NZ and Oz ones generally have a year-by-year account of who was on the base at any given time, complete with their function, events, etc. Same with the French by and large. For the others, that's sometimes the case, especially in the early years of a base, but with, say, the Poles, the Russians, and so on, I've generally (especially in the later years) kept the personnel down to just the leader, and maybe the deputy and the doc.

Each country's expeditions, including the ongoing year-by-year ones, are covered in huge detail.

Every geographical feature, from every country has either its own entry or a cross-reference to the main entry. Using SCAR composite gazetteer, and the other nations' gazetteers, one finds thousands and thousands of errors. These have, I think, been corrected. In so many cases, for example, the US coordinates listed are hopelessly out of date. Most of the US descriptors have not, it seems, been amended since they were first laid down. These have now been brought up to date. Entry name for persons who do not exist (!!!) have been corrected. Wrong spellings of entries (guys have had their names misspelled for decades) have been, while not corrected (that would mean changing the name of the entry), pointed out in no uncertain terms. And, perhaps most important, when speaking of the SCAR gazetteer, so many features have been allocated a SCAR gazetteer ID number all their own when they shouldn't, i.e. it is another name for a feature already in place, etc. Sometimes the error is really stupid, others it's more difficult perhaps, BUT IT CAN BE CORRECTED, because it's corrected here. The Russians, for example, have gazetteered so many names with no descriptor, just coordinates. It's just a matter of working it out, something I feel SCAR should have done (I mean, they have a paid team to do that, don't they!) Most of the geographical features have been much expanded beyond the gazetteers' information, who it was named for, etc. And it has been put into readable form, as entertaining as I dared without crossing the line. Many of the honorees that were unknown have now been found, etc.

Many, many specialty entries, so to speak.

There are some fun (and big) entries - Blacks in Antarctica, Women in Antartica, to name but two, which have NOT relied on any other previous published source. Indeed, I have tried to stay away from previously published sources UNTIL the entry is almost complete, and I'm amazed at the vast amount of absolutely new ground that has been broken as a result of that method.

Eskimos in Antarctica!

Deaths in Antarctica is now very, very big—and Billy Ace says it's by far the most complete.

I've studied Antarctic historians like Jones and Balch, and for the most part they're good. But they contain hundreds of errors, which, again hopefully, have now been corrected.

I have deleted the two appendixes from the previous edition, putting Expeditions under E. It's an enormous entry.

I really enjoyed interviewing the 17 Seabees left alive of the 24 who built the original Pole Station There is a lot of BRAND NEW stuff on the old sealing period, and masses of NEW stuff on the whaling period.

What I'm particularly pleased about is that a huge amount of this material is not available anywhere else.

Antarctic terms (words, that is).

Suicides, crime, post offices, stamps (enormous), ham radio operators, abreviations, yachts, tourism, whaling (very big entry), organizations.

This is only scratching the surface…"
Later the same day another e-mail appeared with a few sample entries, with word counts:
Aagaard Glacier 210
Mount Aaron 84
George Abbott 135
Aboa Station 225
The Abraham Larsen 969
The Admiralen 932
Airplanes 1666
ANARE 24,780 (sic)
Antarctic Expedition (Bull) 1309
Antarctic Treaty 1173
Argentine Antarctic Expeditions 2504
The Arneb 824
Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14 2901
Automatic weather stations 765 (each one has an entry as well)
Azerbaijan 180
Bagpipes 71
Billy-Ace Baker 179
The Balaena (the whaler of the 1940s and 50s) 1511
John Balleny 289 (brand new stuff on Balleny, very exciting)
The Balleny Expedition 1221
Balleny Islands 215
Base B (Deception Island) 1312
Base D (Hope Bay) 965
Base E (Stonington) 1601
Base G (Admiralty Bay) 670
BAE 1898-1900 836
BAE 1907-09 2372
BAE 1910-13 3259
BCTAE 2932
BGLE 1553
BNAE 1901-04 3873
BITE 1914-17 (Shackleton) 6677
Blacks in Antarctica 968 (masses of unsuspected stuff)
John Biscoe 683 (great new stuff on Biscoe)
Biscoe Expedition 409
Byrd-South Pole Traverse 1960-61 1399
Byrd Station 2308
ByrdAE 1928-30 5455
ByrdAE 1933-35 4733
Chilean Antarctic Expeditions 1902
Cook's expedition 3227
Davis Station 2931
Deaths in Antarctica 5606 (heaps of new old ones)
Expeditions 6766 (inc. ones never before listed)
FIDS 13,011
French Ant. Ex. (Dumont d'Urville) 2628
French Polar Expeditions (since the war) 2366
Indian Ant. Expeds. 1986
James King 2425 (the sealer of the 1870s forced to winter over. Brand new stuff)
The John Biscoe 3419 (the old Biscoe, that is)
Mawson Station 4891
Norwegian Ant. Exp. 1910-12 4217
The Ole Wegger 848
Ocean Camp 222 (Shackleton)
Operation Deep Freeze 5212
Operation Highjump 2210
Operation Tabarin 2310
Operation Windmill 866
Orcadas Station 3272
Thomas Orde-Lees 499
Port Lockroy Station 2961
Sanae Station 2697 (plus more under Norway Station)
Scott base 2621
Scott's National Antarctic Expedition 1902-04 1520
Scouts (i.e. Boy Scouts) 391
Sealing 602
South Pole 2904
South Pole Station 8356
South Shetlands 864
Stamps 5504
USAS 4305
Whaling 3506
The William Scoresby 1419
Women in Antarctica 3490
(12 December 2010)

A follow-up e-mail: The publisher will be Mcfarland as it was for the first edition. There will be two or three very big volumes, I suspect.
By the way, anyone who expresses an interest to buy might want to call Gayle Winston on (336) 982 2109, at the River House. Gayle will be stocking the book, probably at a slightly reduced price, and I'll inscribe it, something you won't get if you buy it elsewhere.
(13 December 2010)

UPDATE: John e-mails to say: "I handed the book in yesterday. My guess it'll be a May publication, or thereabouts."
(10 February 2011)

UPDATE: John e-mailed a few days ago to say: "Sent my page proofs back yesterday."

(1 August 2011)

AURORA; DOUGLAS MAWSON AND THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1911-14 Beau Riffenburgh, Norwich: Erskine Press, 2011. 536 pp., over 70 photographs, 11 maps and drawings, 1 pull out-map. £37.50. ISBN 978 1 85297 108 3. Web:

"In 1911 Douglas Mawson organised and led the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE)—a scientific investigation of the Antarctic on a scale never before considered. At the same time it was responsible for the exploration of vastly more territory than any other Antarctic expedition. It consisted of three land bases operated by 32 men, seven major sledging journeys (as well as numerous shorter ones), and a full oceanographic programme in addition to its shore-based scientific studies. Yet what was intended by Mawson to be a scientific exercise devoid of heroic adventure, also proved to be a tale of death, determination, and raw courage.

The dynamic character of Mawson, the expedition's sheer scale, and the fact that most of what happened on it has never entered the public consciousness were very appealing reasons to investigate such an epic venture. Compiled, for the first time, from all the available sources—diaries, correspondence and reports—the result is the first examination of the full expedition since Mawson's The Home of the Blizzard was published in 1915. It was Mawson who...of all Southern explorers, gave the world the greatest contributions in polar science and his own people the greatest territorial possessions in the Antarctic.

…the greatest survival story in the history of Exploration
Sir Edmund Hillary

Beau Riffenburgh is an historian specialising in exploration, particularly Polar. He served for 14 years as editor of Polar Record, headed the Scott Polar Research Institute's Polar History Group and lectured in Cambridge University's History Faculty. He has written numerous books on polar exploration, including The Myth of the Explorer, and Nimrod, the tale of Shackleton's heroic attempt on the South Pole. He was also the editor of the award-winning, two-volume Encyclopaedia of the Antarctic, the most comprehensive Antarctic reference work ever published."

—From the publisher's website.

—R. Stephenson
(26 September 2011)

THE QUEST FOR FRANK WILD (INCLUDING HIS ORIGINAL MEMOIRS) Angie Butler. Radway, Warwick: Jackleberry Press, 1 August 2011. 224 pp. 42 black and white illustrations. £25. ISBN-10: 0956927203. ISBN-13: 978-0956927200. Web:

"The Quest for Frank Wild tells the gripping story of Angie Butler's determination to unravel the truth of the final years of Frank Wild, one of the greatest British Edwardian Polar explorers of all time.
He supposedly died in penury unable to come to terms with Ernest Shackleton's death and forgotten by his fellowmen in the small mining town of Klerksdorp near Johannesburg. The little that was known of his later life in South Africa has been maligned by hearsay and sensational journalism and most tragically of all, no-one knew where he was buried. An outstanding man lost in life and in death.
The author's seven year journey finally uncovers an extraordinary untold story and by doing so not only fulfils Wild's wish to have his Memoirs published but ultimately makes an astonishing discovery.
The Memoirs stand alone as a unique account of Edwardian Polar exploration."

"The Quest for Frank Wild, a biography by Angie Butler, is published today, 1st August, 2011. It marks the first time the original memoirs have been published (as written by Wild covering four expeditions) and unveils the later life story of the hero's final years in South Africa. After a seven year long research journey, Angie, journalist and co-founder of Polar adventure travel company, Ice Tracks Expeditions, announces her breakthrough discovery of Wild's ashes in Johannesburg and the explorer's last wish to be buried in South Georgia beside Shackleton. Exactly ninety years since their last voyage together, Wild and Shackleton will finally be reunited thanks to a commemorative expedition leaving on the 20 November 2011 when Wild will make his final journey to Grytviken to be buried."

About the Author: Angie Butler, a journalist, was born and educated in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the author of Ice Tracks—today's heroic age of polar adventure and co-founder of the adventure travel company Ice Tracks Expeditions named after her book.

The book launch is tomorrow night, 2 August. See information below.

Angie e-mailed recently to say: "I am some very special news I would like to share with you … In January this year I found the missing Frank Wild's ashes in Johannesburg in a vault under a chapel (I have been searching for them for seven years and had all but given up) and we are taking them to South Georgia (as Wild wanted) to be buried with Shackleton. Unprecedented permission given by the Commissioner of South Georgia. The 18 day voyage leaves on 20 November 2011—Falklands, South Georgia and the Peninsula."

(1 August 2011)
—R. Stephenson

UPDATE: Angie e-mails to say "My book, The Quest for Frank Wild, is now in print and the launch is on 2nd August." The launch is at Daunt Books, 112-14 Holland Park Avenue, London W11, 6:30-8:30pm. RSVP to
(8 July 2011)

UPDATE: I finished the book this past weekend and am now able to make some comments. This is really two separate books:
1) the author's search for information on Frank Wild's days in Africa and her successful attempt to clear up the mystery of what became of his ashes. With additional information added on Wild's pre-African days, the first half of the book is essentially a biography of Wild.
2) the memoirs of Wild, which have their first appearance here.
Frankly, I would have approached it as two separate books, though there are no doubt good reasons why the author didn't choose to do this. Both could stand on their own but would not end up book length.

One learns a lot about Wild's later life and for that the biography portion of the book is worthwhile and a happy addition to the literature. The portions about the author's quest to determine where Wild's ashes might be is certainly interesting and she's to be congratulated on her perseverance. And the various attempts over the years to publish WIld's memoirs or to produce a biography constitute tales of frustration.

But the memoirs raise some questions. The original hand-written manuscript was sold to the Mitchell Library in Sydney in 1971. A typescript with carbon copies was produced and this is what the author presents in her book. Too little is said about the memoirs: Were the typescript and the original compared word-for-word? Did the numerous typos and misspellings appear in the original? If so, they should have been corrected or at least noted. (There are no notes at all associated with the Memoirs which is unfortunate; much could have been clarified if notes had been included.) Some examples of errors include: Lyttelton misspelled Lyttleton throughout. Wild says on p. 92 "in all my six expeditions." I thought there were five. On page 96 he says of Armitage, "he was a heavy man, about 250 lbs." I find that hard to believe; could this be a misprint? On page 99, "Waymouth" is almost certainly "Weymouth". On page 101, "The tank of landing stores" is surely "The task if landing stores." "Priestley" is spelled correctly in some places, but also "Priestly" in others. (By the way, Priestley was not Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney; he was such for the University of Melbourne and the University of Birmingham.) "Stefansson" is spelled "Steffensen". The motor car, the Arrol Johnston is spelled "Arral." On page 108, should "snow-bell" be "snow-ball"? On page 124, should "Pickerton" be "Bickerton"? At the bottom of the page Wild writes "Macquarie Island…belongs to New Zealand." Actually it's Australian (and now a Tasmanian Nature Reserve). On page 127, "Cape Adair" is presumably "Cape Adare." On page 134, "hands and keens" must be "hands and knees." On the same page, a "heave gale" should be "heavy gale." On page 165, "Fitchner" should be "Filchner." On page 179, "this was so salt" should probably be "salty." And on and on. Some are obviously of a typographical nature while others are errors of fact. The problem is that one doesn't know whether Wild made the error, whether whoever did the typescript made the error, or whether the author in transcribing or scanning the typescript made the error. The esssntial value and interest of the Memoirs are unaffected but it's still unfortunate.

The photos are interesting and nearly all new to me but in most cases the reproduction is poor although this may just be a reflection the quality of the originals.

Despite these shortcomings the book breaks new ground and belongs on the shelf of every Antarctican.

Table of Contents:
Early Life
1917-1929 War Years and Nyasaland
Quest Expedition 1921-1922
South Africa
Briefly Better Times
Medals and Ashes
Aurora Australis
Why the Memoirs were never Published
My Quest
Elephant Island
—R. Stephenson
(22 August 2011)

PUTTING SOUTH GEORGIA ON THE MAP Alec Trendall. Albany, Western Australia: Alec Trandall, 2011. 216 pp. Three formats are available: Soft cover (AUD 40, other countries AUD 50), Hard cover (AUD 50/AUD 60), Limited Edition (AUD 80/AUD90). Web: E-mail for further details and ordering:

"Putting South Georgia on the map tells for the first time the full story behind Duncan Carse's expeditions to South Georgia in the 1950s. Carse was born in 1913. By the time he was 37 he had sailed around the world as apprentice on a square-rigged sailing ship, spent months in the Antarctic pack ice on the RRS Discovery II, been awarded the Polar Medal as the youngest member of the British Graham Land Expedition, been appointed to the BBC as an Announcer, served with the RNVR during World War II, and finally had become famous throughout Britain as the radio voice of 'Dick Barton - Special Agent', a BBC radio thriller with a daily listening audience in the millions. But early in his life Carse developed a consuming ambition to lead a trans-Antarctic expedition, and to succeed where Sir Ernest Shackleton had heroically failed with his Endurance expedition of 1914-1916. This ambition led him in 1950 to abandon his radio acting career to organise the 6-man South Georgia Survey 1951-52, which he hoped would boost his leadership credentials. But both it and the 4-man 1953-54 party ran into serious problems, so that when in 1953 Carse was forced to compete with Vivian Fuchs for the lead- ership of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition it was Fuchs who was selected. Although bitterly disappointed, he organised the final, and highly successful, 8-man South Georgia Survey of 1955-56. Finally, in 1958, and as a direct result of Carse's efforts, the first accurately surveyed map of South Georgia was published, at a scale of 1:200,000.

The sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, about 170 kilometres long and up to 30 kilometres wide, lies at the southern end of the Atlantic Ocean, about 2000 kilometres east of Cape Horn. Its icy mountain spine rises nearly 3000 metres out of the ocean, like a misplaced section of the Alps. The island lies well within the cold waters bounded by the Antarctic Polar Front, and more than half of its area is permanently covered by ice and snow. Although South Georgia was visited with increasing frequency after its discovery by Captain Cook in 1775, and was for a long time a busy base for the sealing and whaling industries, a properly surveyed map of the island was not published until 1958. That map resulted from a series of small privately-organised expeditions the South Georgia Surveys initiated and led by Duncan Carse. In Putting South Georgia on the map, a book printed and published in Western Australia in 2011, Alec Trendall, who served as geologist with the South Georgia Surveys of 1951-52 and 1953-54, tells for the first time the full story of Carse's expeditions to South Georgia in the 1950s.

A large-format (A4) 216-page book containing a full account of the survey expeditions to South Georgia led by Duncan Carse in the 1950s. These resulted in the publication, in 1958, of the first accurately surveyed map of the whole island of South Georgia (DOS 610), which remained the definitive map of the island for almost half-a-century."

About the author

Alec Trendall was born in 1928 at Enfield, Middlesex, and graduated in geology in London, in 1949. Later in the same year he began research for his PhD degree at Liverpool University, under the supervision of Robert Shackleton, a distant cousin of Sir Ernest.

Before completing his thesis Alec accepted an invitation from Duncan Carse to join the South Georgia Survey of 1951-52 as its geologist. On New Year's Day 1952 he fell unroped some 50 metres down a crevasse, and was shipped back to Britain with a severe knee injury. Luckily, this had recovered enough for him to rejoin Carse on South Georgia for the 1953-54 season.

On his return from this second expedition, Alec spent eight years as a field geologist in Uganda, after which he moved to Western Australia, where he retired as Director of the Geological Survey in 1989.

Between 1954 and 2002 he lost contact with Carse, but met him again in Sussex in 2003. Then, after Duncan's death in 2004, he began to write this book, recognising that the South Georgia Surveys merited a proper written record.

—From the author/publisher's flyer and website.

In a recent e-mail Alec Trendall has said:
"This book is the first full account of the survey parties to South Georgia organised and led by Duncan Carse in the 1950s—the South Georgia Surveys of 1951-52, 1953-54 and 1955-56. These led to the publication of the first accurately surveyed map of the whole island of South Georgia by the Directorate of Overseas Surveys in 1958; that map—DOS 610—stood as the definitive map of the island for nearly half-a-century.

I was the geologist with the first two of Carse's three expeditions. After my work was written up in 1954 I moved to Africa, and then Australia, and lost touch with Carse completely, but a chance encounter in 2002 with Tony Bomford, the Chief Surveyor of the South Georgia Survey 1955-56, and the main architect of DOS 610, led to my meeting Carse again in England in 2003. He told me then that he had recently agreed that Sally Poncet should join him as co-author of a book on his South Georgia work, a project that he had never succeeded in completing; but later in that year Sally had to withdraw, and Carse himself died in May 2004.

At that point, as one of the few survivors of the South Georgia Surveys, I took on the task myself, with the support and encouragement of those remaining, of Sally Poncet, and also of Duncan's widow Venetia. Since 2004, I have twice visited the British Antarctic Survey and the Scott Polar Research Institute to check archival evidence for Carse's motivation in initiating his small private exploration parties, and to speak with all others who took part. After an unsatisfactory experience with a putative publisher in 2008, when I completed the text, I decided to publish the book myself, and this has led to a three-year delay before its publication this year.

The book has turned out to be (I think) an unusual mix. At its core is a narrative of the progress and achievements of the South Georgia Surveys; but it sets these these within the context of a fuller account of Carse's life than is available anywhere else, and shows that his motivation in initiating them was to strengthen his credentials as a potential Leader of a trans-Antarctic expedition—which he was never to achieve. One of the four Appendixes also presents a new analysis of Shackleton's route across the island in 1916."

(20 May 2011)

UPDATE: A copy of Alec Trendall's book is now in hand. First, here is the Table of Contents:
List of photos
List of maps
1 Introduction
2 Duncan Carse and his Antarctic dream
3 Opportunity knocks: the South Georgia Surveys
4 South Georgia then and now
5 Action at last: South Georgia Survey 1951-52
6 1952-53: keeping the dream alive
7 The dream ends: South Georgia Survey 1953-54
8 A new start: South Georgia Survey 1955-56
9 South Georgia Survey 1955-56: the first journey
10 South Georgia Survey 1955-56: completing the northwest end
11 South Georgia Survey 1955-56: the southern journey
12 South Georgia Survey 1955-56: the final journey, and home
13 Life goes on
14 Retrospect
    Appendix 1 - The men of the South Georgia Surveys
    Appendix 2 - Sources
    Appendix 3 - Glossary
    Appendix 4 - Shackleton's route across South Georgia in 1916
The book is certainly well illustrated. A "total of 112 photos, all but six of which are in colour" are included. Most were scanned from transparencies taken by various members of the South Georgia Survey and are on the whole sharp and clear and of good quality. Probably very few of those taken by SGS members have ever appeared in print before, making them collectively a valuable resource.
The eight maps are based on 1958 maps produced by the Directorate of Overseas Surveys. Added to the maps are clearly drawn routes of the various journeys made by members of the SGS.
The Appendices are useful. The first gives lengthy biographies of the "men of the South Georgia Surveys" and includes good mostly color portraits of each of the twelve. Appendix 4 is a four-page discussion of "Shackleton's route across South Georgia in 1916" complete with map. I think this should prove useful in a wider context.

I hope to add more here after I've done more than my initial skimming.

—R. Stephenson
(4 July 2011)

SOUTH POLAR TIMES Vol IV. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, editor. London: J & S L Bonham in association with Scott Polar Research Institute, 2011. 4to. xiii, 227pp. Facsimile, limited to 500 copies. Supplementary material by Ann Savours. £250.

One of the longest sagas in polar publishing has finally come to an end—the fourth and never truly published volume of the South Polar Times has now been issued! I haven't seen it yet but will greatly look forward to receiving it. I was involved in the original publishing effort and spent a week at SPRI transcribing the thing and so how it finally turned out will be of high interest to me. Stay tuned for a report once I've held it in my hands.

UPDATE: My copy arrived this past week—signed by Ann Savours and John Bonham. It's a marvelous book and is identical in format with the Volumes I-III of the re-print edition, so it will sit nicely with the other three on my shelves, and with my three original volumes (and my very own transcription of hte final volume).
The original is very much shorter than what were published as facsimile editions following the Discovery expedition (Volumes I and II) and the Terra Nova expedition (Volume III). The solution to "fattening up" the book was to include a five-page Preface, followed by two-pages of Acknowledgements, and an 85 page Introduction (The Tradition of Polar Publishing), followed by four pages of Explanatory Notes, then an Annotated List of Contents of the Published Volumes I to III (41 pages), followed by Contributors and their Contributions; The Three Wooden Ships: Discovery, Morning and Terra Nova; Captain Scott on Sledge Travelling in the Antarctic; and The Polar Disaster: National Homage to the Dead [On the Mt Wise memorial] (67 pages), plus Appendix One, Sledge Flags; Their Origin and Development (by H. G. Carr, abridged from The Mariner's Mirror), five pages; plus Appendix Two, Chivalry at the Poles: British Sledge Flags (by Barbara Tomlinson), 10 pages; List of Illustrations and Maps, two pages; and, finally, an Index [thankfully!] (five pages).

The facsimile of the SPTIV is unpaginated and sits between pages 90 and 91. By my count, the facsimile takes up 54 pages including the four tissue guards and the blank versos. So there are 54 pages of the original Volume IV and 226 pages of additional material. But for me—in part, because I have my own transcription—these pages are not simply filler. They are extraordinary interesting and useful and represent a real contribution to the scholarship of expedition publishing. Ann should be congratulated for her efforts and John should be thanked for including what, but for the need to produce a volume somewhat similar in size with the previous three, could have been greatly shortened. Thankfully, that wasn't done.

The 'Introduction; The Tradition of Polar Publishing' deserves some extra attention. It contains two sections entitled as follows:
- Wintering and writing in the high Arctic (pp 3-20)
- Wintering in the Antarctic (pp 21-87). Up to page 30 this section focuses on the Belgica, Southern Cross, Nordenskjold, von Drygalski, Scotia, and Charcot (2) expeditions. There is then a major chapter entitled The National Antarctic ("Discovery") Expedition 1901-04 which continues treating that expedition through page 54. On the following page—unaccountably still within the same chapter—there is a discussion of the 'Aurora Australis and Shackleton's "Nimrod" expedition, 1907-09', which is followed on page 58 by a section entitled 'The Norwegian South Polar Expedition, 1910-12', which concludes on the following page. On page 60, a section on '"The Adelie Blizzard" and "The Glacier Tongue": the Australiasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-14' begins and continues through page 67.
On page 68 a new chapter begins: 'Captain Scott's Last Expedition 1910-13.' Within this chapter, beginning again on page 68, Scott's Northern Party is discussed, specifically its publication The Adelie Mail and Cape Adare Times. This continues until page 72 when a section begins on 'The South Polar Times, Volume III.' This runs to the end of the chapter on page 87, whereupon the facsimile of Volume IV begins.
There are many welcomed illustrations included—other than those that appear in the facsimile—and here's a listing of those that I got excited about (all are listed on pages 221-22):
The covers from the original volumes that did not appear in the facsimiles. (The original five parts of Volume I, edited by Shackleton, are now at the Royal Geographical Society in eight uniformly bound cloth volumes plus one volume of covers.) On p. 98 is the orginal cover for April 1902; on p. 104, the original for June 1902 (although the image itself is used on the upper cover of the facsimile volumes I and II); on p. 108, the original for July 1902; on p. 117, the original for June 1903; and on p. 122, the original for August 1903. To my knowledge, this is the first time these illustrations have been published. Why they weren't included in the published facsimiles is a mystery.

(The original three parts of Volume II, edited by Bernacchi, are now at the British Library. They are in the original very decorative bindings made from venesta board and bordered with sealskin by Bernard Day (who also was the binder of the Aurora Australis.) The three volumes are pictured on p. 96. (I laboriously sketched these out some years back when I inspected the volumes. Photography wasn't allowed then, nor is it now, so I welcome these images.) I believe that images of the bindings of the three volumes have never before been published.
My only quibble—and it's a very minor one—is that the marbled surfaces of the inner boards appear following one another at the start rather than where they actually occur: at the start and at the end of the facsimile.

In time I hope that the Introduction and perhaps the back matter might appear as a separate publication, making the information more widely available.

A review of SPTIV appears on the University of Cambridge

(2 May 2011)

From past notices stretching back over 10 years:
The South Polar Times was the expedition "magazine" produced during Scott's two expeditions. Volumes I and II cover the Discovery expedition and Volume III the first half of the Terra Nova expedition. These were later issued in limited editions of 250 copies (Vols I & II) and 350 copies (Vol III) by the London publisher, Smith, Elder & Co. They constitute an important cornerstone of any polar library and are scarce and quite expensive.
Few people are aware that a fourth volume was produced, though never issued. As with Volume III it was edited by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. It is likely that it wasn't issued because it was thought not to be up to the standard of the previous three volumes. It is also not as lengthy. Those contributing to it were, of course, concerned over the fate of the polar party, and Wilson, who was responsible for most of the fine illustrations in the earlier volumes was with Scott and not involved in Volume IV. But now that nearly 90 years have elapsed since its original appearance, Volume IV now cries out for publication.
Arrangements have been made with the holder of the manuscript, The Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England, to issue Volume IV, in the same format and with the same look and feel of the earlier published volumes.
Publication, limited to 350 copies, is expected before the end of 2000.
(3 March 2000)

NOTE: Those issues of the South Polar Times that were published as Volumes I-III—which now bring very high prices in the rare book market--are about to be reprinted for the first time in the near future. Details are sketchy at this point but we've learned that the set will probably be priced in the neighborhood of £600. [The 3-volume set has since been issued; see details in 'Antarctic Book Notes' elsewhere on this site.]

UPDATE: This project—Vol IV—seems now to be stalled. Vols I-III due out by Christmas [now out--see under 'Antarctic Booknotes elsewhere on this site].
(13 December 2001)

UPDATE: Nothing new on this project.
(6 March 2003)

UPDATE: Ann Savours is working on the introduction. Word has it that the text will not be reset (as volumes I-III were) but photo-offset from the original.
(28 May 2003)

UPDATE: Ann Savours mentioned her involvement in this project during her talk at the recent Shackleton Autumn School in Athy.
(9 November 2003)

UPDATE: An item in the James Caird Society Newsletter of May 2004 reports: "The aim is to publish later this year or early in 2005."

UPDATE: Apparently the photographs got lost between the UK and the US. No further news.
(2 December 2006)

UPDATE: I heard recently that someone was told that the title will appear later this year.
(3 March 2007)

UPDATE: A new publisher is on board—and I spoke with him last month in London—and the project is up and running again. I should be posting more information soon.
(9 December 2009)

UPDATE: Well, after ten years or so, Volume IV looks to see the light of day before the end of the year. Ann Savours has written the introduction, John Bonham (and perhaps the others who brought out the reprints of Vols I-III back in 2002) is the publisher. No information yet on publication date, price, etc.
(15 August 2010)
(9 December 2009)

UPDATE: A recent note from Ann Savours: "Eureka! The S.P.T. IV is about to appear in its final state, to be published by SPRI and John Bonham."
(12 December 2010)

(1 May 2011)

AT THE END OF THE EARTH: HOW POLAR ICE AND IMAGINATION SHAPE THE WORLD Appearing in Terrae Incognitae, The Journal of the Society for the History of Discoveries, Vol. 42, No. 1, (September 2010), pp. 19-33. Published by Maney Publishing. ISSN 0082-2884, Online ISSN: 2040-8706. The cost to download the article is $39. Web (ingenta):

This article explores the historical relationship between the polar regions and their representation in Western literature, starting with classical texts and working through several important journals of discovery in the Renaissance while referencing the defining maps of the age. Working chronologically, it also traces the impact of Cook's journals on the imaginative work of the Romantic Period, and investigates the impact of the Age of Exploration on the twentieth-century view of the polar realms. The central tenet of this article is that the Arctic and the Antarctic are critical reference points for understanding humanity's place in the world; and, as perception of the poles has changed, so has our collective human understanding. The exploration illustrates a paradox: that while our scientific understanding of polar regions has increased, the declining mythical power of these terrae incognitae has eliminated a critical reverence we once had for them
(30 April 2011)

PUBLIC SCIENCE FOR A GLOBAL EMPIRE: THE BRITISH QUEST FOR THE SOUTH MAGNETIC POLE by Edward J. Larson. Appearing in Isis, Vol. 102, No. 1, (March 2011), pp. 34-59. Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of The History of Science Society. The cost to download the article is $14. Web (jstor):

It is well known to historians of science that, early in the nineteenth century, terrestrial magnetism became both a popular science and a significant research enterprise in Europe. For Britain, as a maritime power, it offered benefits for navigation. Theoretical physicists claimed that, with enough observations of magnetic variation, intensity, and dip taken throughout the world over time, they could deduce regular mathematical laws to explain the phenomena. Because of the lack of data from the region, particular attention focused on field research in deep southern latitudes. Finding the precise location of the South Magnetic Pole became a prime goal for some enthusiasts. With burgeoning colonies in Africa and the Antipodes, Britain assumed a leading role in this effort. British scientists looked to their government for funding and called on the Admiralty to dispatch expeditions. It is less well known that both popular and scientific interest in terrestrial magnetism continued throughout the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century. The H.M.S. Erebus and H.M.S. Terror (1839-1843), H.M.S. Challenger (1872-1876), and R.Y. Discovery (1901-1904) sailed to the Antarctic as part of Britain's extended "Magnetic Crusade," which culminated with Royal Society geologist T. W. Edgeworth David of the Nimrod expedition reaching the South Magnetic Pole in 1909.
(30 April 2011)

FROM SOUTH DEVON TO THE SOUTH POLE; PLYMOUTH AND DEVON'S CONNECTIONS WITHE HEROIC AGE OF ANTARCTIC EXPLORATON (1901-22) Paul Davies. Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Introduction from Professor Wendy Purcell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth. Kingsbridge, Devon: Kingsbridge Books in association with the University of Plymouth, 2011. 70pp. Color and black and white photographs. Softback: £6.99. ISBN: 978-0-9567472-0-4

In the Acknowledgements, Paul kindly says that my 'Low-Latitude Antarctic Gazetteer' gave him the idea for this book. I'm flattered. And I'm pleased to see a few sites that I didn't know about so I'll have to do some seeking out when I'm in Plymouth this June.

As the title states, the places included have connections to the Heroic Age, starting with Scott's Discovery expedition and ending with Shackleton's Quest expedition, and the content is arranged according to these expeditions plus Nimrod, Terra Nova and Endurance.

Antarcticans paying a visit to Plymouth and its environs will certainly want a copy of this, and for those not planning a visit anytime soon, it will be nice addition to your bookshelf.

—R. Stephenson
(29 March 2011)

CLIMBING THE POLE: EDMUND HILLARY & THE TRANS-ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1955-1958 John Thomson. Norwich: Erskine Press, 2011?. 168pp. 35 photographs and maps. Softback: £15 (Apparently no hardcover version available.) Web:

John recently e-mailed and mentioned that he has published his latest book. I haven't seen it yet but this is what I found on the publisher's website:
"In 1957 on the Antarctic Plateau Sir Edmund Hillary, the great New Zealand mountaineer, raced his expedition leader, Vivian Fuchs, to the South Pole for reasons that were never fully explained. Hillary's spin was that the Pole was there and he had time and fuel to get there first: so he did.

Hillary's actions threw Fuchs' Trans Antarctic Expedition into confusion. When he then suggested that Fuchs halt his march across Antarctica at the Pole and return a year later to complete the historic crossing, Hillary appeared to be approaching a state of mutiny on the ice: he was roundly criticised by many interested in Antarctic affairs, except that at home in New Zealand his spin took root and has never been vigorously challenged.

Examining records that could more fully explain why Hillary acted as he did took the writer into part of the history of the TAE: the part that somehow had escaped close examination for around half a century.

When the New Zealand Prime Minister heard that Hillary was to go on the expedition he remarked: "Edmund Hillary climbed Everest, they think he can climb the South Pole too."

John Thomson is the author of the acclaimed Elephant Island & Beyond the Life and Diaries of Thomas Orde Lees which was described by the historian and writer on Polar matters, Joe O'Farrell, as one of his own personal top-ten favourite polar books which have given him the greatest reading pleasure."
—R. Stephenson
(27 January 2011)

GREAT ENDEAVOUR; IRELAND'S ANTARCTIC EXPLORERS Cork: The Collins Press, 2010. 254pp, numerous photographs and maps, many in color. Price: €29.99/£26.99. ISBN: 978-1-84889-023-7. Web: and

This is a very nicely produced book with quite a few illustrations new to me. More after I've dipped into it a bit.
—R. Stephenson
(8 November 2010)
Chronology of Events
Author's Note
1. Edward Bransfield
2. Francis Crozier
3. Ernest Shackleton
4. Thomas Crean
5. Patrick Keohane
6. Robert Forde
7. Mortimer and Timothy McCarthy
8. Carrying the Torch
"The Irish have left an indelible mark in the most hostile territory on earth; Antarctica. It was the Irish who pioneered a route to the Antarctic and whose adventures 100 years ago gripped the attention of the world. Their contribution is now told in a single volume celebrating their amazing exploits. The earliest voyages to the Antarctic are saluted, with due consideration given to present-day adventurers who have taken up the torch. Quotations from first-hand accounts and photographs of the intrepid men, as well as the relics, medals, and sites, enhance the poignant text."
—From the publisher's website.

"Ireland stands at the heart of the gripping story of Antarctic exploration. Almost every episode of triumph and tragedy and awe-inspiring endurance and unimaginable hardship in the worlds most dangerous territory involves great Irish figures who have left an indelible mark on history through their courage and indomitable will to survive.

This book is the first single volume to salute Irelands unique link with Antarctic discovery, spanning 200 years of daring exploits in the frozen wastes. It includes many previously unknown stories and photographs of early explorers and discloses why so many Irish heroes, caught up Irelands fight for independence, were soon forgotten.

Irish characters graced Antarctic exploration from the earliest days, starting 200 years ago with the enigmatic EDWARD BRANSFIELD from Cork who made the earliest sighting of the continent and FRANCIS CROZIER from Down who first mapped the icy wilderness. The charismatic ERNEST SHACKLETON of Kildare ventured on four epic voyages and TOM CREAN, the unsung hero from Kerry, outlived most of his comrades and retired to open a pub. New light can also be shed on the overlooked Corkmen, PATRICK KEOHANE, ROBERT FORDE and the colourful brothers, MORTIMER AND TIMOTHY McCARTHY.

This book also contains the first comprehensive account of hardy 21st century Irish adventurers who trekked in the footsteps of the pioneers, including MIKE BARRY from Kerry, the first Irishman to walk overland to the South Pole. Other thrilling stories include CLARE OLEARY, the first Irishwoman to march to the Pole and the courageous MARK POLLOCK, who overcame blindness to make the trek. Brought together for the first time, these historic episodes in the Antarctic are a powerful and compelling celebration of 200 years of great endeavour by great Irish explorers."
—From the author's website.

LIEUTENANT NOBU SHIRASE AND THE JAPANESE ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION OF 1910-1912 - A BIBLIOGRAPHY Chet Ross. Santa Monica: Adélie Books, 2010. 121pp. Many illustrations. Quarter leather with silver gilt. Limited to 300 copies of which 290 are numbered and for sale. $375. ISBN 978-0-9705386-4-2. Web:

Chet Ross's bibliography of Nobu Shirase was launched at the 10th Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, Ireland, on the 22nd of October 2010. The Japanese ambassador to Ireland was present at the launch and received a copy from the author.

The book is very nicely produced although it somehow seems like it should be larger in format. The Preface begins: "This book is a bibliography of published works by and about Lieutenant Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912. It includes a brief narrative summarizing Shirase's life and Antarctic explorations…and a bibliography divided into four sections."
Foreword, by Michael Rosove, xiii
Preface, xv-xxv
Acknowledgements, xxvii
1. Primary Accounts, 1-31
2. Secondary Accounts, Biographies, Analyses, 32-67
3. Non-Freestanding Publications: Journals and Articles, 68-101
4. Notable Exphemera, 102-114
Appendix I. Nobu Shirase Chronology, 115-118
Appendix II. Expedition Personnel and Scientific Staff Japanese Antarctic Expedition 1910-1912, 119-121
A typical entry includes, along with illustrations, the title (in English and the two Japanese versions), author, type, language, publisher, edition, dimension, binding, collation, availability, notes.

—R. Stephenson
(9 November 2010)

THE ADELIE BLIZZARD; MAWSON'S FORGOTTEN NEWSPAPER 1913 Preface by Emma McEwin, introduction by Elizabeth Leane and Mark Pharaoh. Adelaide: The Friends of the State Library of South Australia in association with the Friends of Mawson at the South Australian Museum, 2010. Unnumbered. "999 copies of this edition …have been published: 199 are hand numbered and bound in halfleather; 450 are hand bound in decorated cloth; 300 are in soft covers. Prices: AUD295 (deluxe)[apparently sold out], AUD150 (hardback); AUD60 (paperback). ISBNs: 9781876154608 (deluxe), 9781876154622 (hadback) and 9781876154615 (paperback). Web: and

This is an impressive effort. I'm looking at the deluxe edition which is beautifully produced, very tall at 14-3/4 inches. The other editions I'm assuming are the same as to content and probably as handsome as the deluxe edition in its dark blue half leather binding with gilt and silver gilt lettering and rules. This is a facsimile, in other words each page of the original foolscap typescript with numerous sketches has been photo-reproduced in color and at full-size. The Introduction provides an excellent summary of this expedition newspaper and of the genre in general. The Biographies are excellent, too. Given for each member of the expedition is name, nickname, birth and death dates, photograph and a biographical paragraph or two. For each Number there is a Frontispiece using images of Van Waterschoot Van Der Gracht, Hurley or Harrisson. In the front matter there are several original watercolors, photographs, sketches and maps.
—R. Stephenson
(9 November 2010)
Acknowledgements, vi
Subscribers, vii Preface by Emma McEwin (great-granddaughter of Sir Douglas Mawson), ix
Introduction by Dr Elizabeth Leane and Mark Pharaoh, xi-xx
Biographies, xxi-xxvi
The Adelie Blizzard April 1913 Volume 1; Number 1 (original pages 1-26)
The Adelie Blizzard May 1913 Volume 1; Number 2 (original pages 27-71)
The Adelie Blizzard May 1913 Volume 1; Number 3 (original pages 72-129)
The Adelie Blizzard May 1913 Volume 1; Number 4 (original pages 130-179)
The Adelie Blizzard May 1913 Volume 1; Number 4 (original pages 180-216)
"This facsimile reproduction of the Adelie Blizzard newspaper gives an insight into the lives of the members of Douglas Mawsons's 1911 - 1914 Antarctic expeditionary team.

Over 200 pages are reproduced in the original colours with additional illustrations and maps. An informative introduction has been written by Antarctic scholar Elizabeth Leane and the manager of the Mawson Centre, Mark Pharaoh. The preface is written by Mawson's great-granddaughter Emma McEwin.

The newspaper was a collection of poetry, scientific results, observations, world news, comedy and fiction written by and for the social enjoyment of the young expeditioners during that long dark winter.

Each monthly issue was prepared on single foolscap sheets using a manual typewriter, making full use of its black, blue and red ribbons, and was enriched with numerous freehand sketches. Pencilled editorial notes and amendments by Mawson and Archie MacLean have been faithfully retained. Five monthly issues were prepared. A single copy of the Adelie Blizzard was produced. It was read aloud as it was passed around between the men."
—From the author's website.

I did a review of the Adelie Blizzard for Nimrod, the journal of the annual Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, Ireland.

RETURN TO ANTARCTICA: THE AMAZING ADVENTURE OF SIR CHARLES WRIGHT ON ROBERT SCOTT'S JOURNEY TO THE SOUTH POLE Adrian Raeside. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons, Canada, Ltd., 2009. 324pp. $34.95 Canada, $29.95 US, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-470-15380-2.

Preface p. vii
Part I 650 - 19II Discovery of Antarctica and Silas's Arrival at Cape Evans
    Chapter 1: The Last Unexploited Place on Earth p. 3
    Chapter 2: Charles Seymour "Silas" Wright p. 23
    Chapter 3: The 1910 British Antarctic Expedition p. 35
    Chapter 4: Voyage to New Zealand p. 51
    Chapter 5: To the Ice p. 71
Part II 1911 - 1912 The First Inland Expeditions and the Journey to the South Pole
    Chapter 6: Arrival, 1911 p. 89
    Chapter 7: The Western Party p. 107
    Chapter 8: Depot Laying, 1911 p. 125
    Chapter 9: The Northern Party p. 135
    Chapter 10: The First Winter, 1911 p. 161
    Chapter 11: The Southern Journey, 1911 p. 191
    Chapter 12: The Beardmore Glacier p. 209
    Chapter 13: Silas's Return from the Beardmore p. 219
    Chapter 14: The South Pole and Return Journey p. 227
Part III 1912 - 1914 The Search for Scott and the Return Home
    Chapter 15: The Disaster p. 241
    Chapter 16: The Second Winter p. 251
    Chapter 17: The Search Party p. 261
    Chapter 18: Home p. 275
    Chapter 19: Polar Redux p. 281
    Chapter 20: What Became of Everyone? p. 291
Appendix: Crew Names p. 301
Notes p.303
Index p.307
Photo Credits p. 320
"By 1910, the Antarctic was the last place on earth that had never been explored, and British naval officer Robert Scott was obsessed that an Englishman—specifically himself—should conquer the pole. Despite being under-funded, under-equipped and unprepared, Scott sailed south in the antiquated whaling ship, Terra Nova, in what everyone assumed would be a cracking good adventure.

The expedition was made up entirely of British adventurers, gadabouts and scientists, the exception being one Canadian, Charles Seymour (Silas) Wright. Born 1887 in Toronto, Charles Wright was studying physics in Cambridge when he heard Scott was looking for a physicist to join the expedition to the pole. By the time Wright inquired, Scott had chosen a physicist for the team but was short a glaciologist. Who else but a Canadian would know about glaciers? Wright became the expedition's glaciologist. Halfway through the rough passage to the Antarctic, Scott got word that a rival explorer, Norwegian Roald Amundsen, was also making a run for the pole and was close on their heels. What started out as a stroll to the South Pole became a race between two very determined and different men.

Arriving at their base camp on Cape Evans in January 1911, Scott's team soon discovered they were unprepared for the Antarctic, while equipment failures and food shortages compounded the hardship. For the final race to the pole, Scott stripped the team down to four men, and Wright did not make the cut. Scott reached the geographic South Pole only to find that Amundsen had beaten them by days. Bitterly disappointed, Scott and his companions returned to base camp, but were caught in a fierce Antarctic blizzard that raged for days. Too weak to pull their sleds and out of food and fuel, they froze to death. Ironically, as if to underscore the litany of errors that dogged the expedition, they perished only a few miles from a cache of food and fuel. Next spring Wright led a search party to look for the remains of Scott and his party, and it was the sharp-eyed Wright who spotted a small patch of green on a snowy landscape—the tent containing Scott and his companions' frozen bodies.

Wright returned to England and went on to do even more extraordinary things, including inventing trench wireless in WWI, and working closely with Winston Churchill, developing the technology to assist in the allied invasion of Europe in WWII which included developing the first radar installations and inventing the technology that neutralized German magnetic sea mines After a stint as naval attache to Washington, D.C., and Director of Scripps Oceanographic institute in La Jolla, California, he retired to Salt Spring Island, BC, passing away in 1975. Typically Canadian, Wright was modest about his accomplishments, with few Canadians aware of his amazing life and the extraordinary impact he had on the 20th century."


RACE FOR THE SOUTH POLE; THE EXPEDITION DIARIES OF SCOTT AND AMUNDSEN Roland Huntford. London and New York: Continuum, 2010. 330pp, a few photographs and maps in the text. Price: £20. ISBN: 978-1441-16982-2. To be published in the US on 2 December 2010. Price: $27.95. ISBN: 9781441169822. Web:

I bought a copy on a recent trip to England. The production is not at all impressive but, on the other hand, the price was reasonable. You get what you pay for, I guess. The dustjacket says this is the first translation of the Amundsen and Bjaaland diaries. Not so. See the next entry from the Fram Museum.
I may have more to say once I've read it but that could be some time. I think I prefer to take up the Fram Museum's effort first.
—R. Stephenson
(7 November 2010)
Note on the Text
Dramatic Personae
Race for the South Pole
In 1910 Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen set sail for Antarctica, each from his own starting point, and the epic race for the South Pole was on. 2010 marks the centenary of the last great race of terrestrial discovery. For the first time Scott's unedited diaries run alongside those of both Amundsen and Olav Bjaaland, never before translated into English. Cutting through the welter of controversy to the events at the heart of the story, Huntford weavesthe narrative from the protagonists' accounts of their own fate. What emerges is a whole new understanding of what really happened on the ice and the definitive account of the Race for the South Pole.

Roland Huntford, Roland Huntford is the world's foremost authority on the polar expeditions and their protagonists. He is the author of the award-winning Two Planks and a Passion: the Dramatic History of Skiing, Scott and Amundsen: Last Place on Earth and biographer of Shackleton and Nansen. He was the Scandinavian correspondent on The Observer for many years.

'Crucially, [Huntford] reads Norwegian, and the translations are his own. Decades of experience allow him to dilate on the idiosyncrasies of fur in the polar environment; on the workings of the anemometers and on the 'meridian sight method of finding latitude' ... This work is brilliant, and well executed.'
The Times.

Breaks new ground by letting both men live and die side by side in their own words The Race for the South Pole represents Huntfords final attempt to get Scott and Amundsens legacies restored to what he believes should be their proper balance. There is simply no more evidence left to find.
Guardian G2.

BBC History Magazine's Pick of the Month, November 2011
Reading the journals of Scott and Amundsen together has the advantage of highlighting the relative pace and position of the two expeditions on a daily basis. It also draws attention to the contrasting literary styles of their authors. Of interest here are not simply the celebrated set-pieces, most notably Scotts powerful final message to the public, but also more routine matters of format and function.
BBC History Magazine.

—From the publisher's website.

—R. Stephenson
(7 November 2010)

THE ROALD AMUNDSEN DIARIES: THE SOUTH POLE EXPEDITION 1910-12 Oslo: The Fram Museum in cooperation with the National Library of Norway, 2010. 416pp, 280 photos from the expedition, many hand-colored. Price: NOK 149. ISBN: 978-82-8235-010-5. Web: [a new site still in beta]

I only recently learned about this publication from a correspondent in the UK who had been sent a copy. He was excited about its publication because it's the first appearance in print of the diary which resides in the National Library of Norway in Oslo.
I e-mailed the Fram Museum to find out how to get a copy and was sent some details (see below) by the Director, Geir O. Kløver. Apparently the Museum is "working on an international distribution" suggesting that at the moment it is only obtainable at the Museum and presumably elsewhere in Norway.
Mr Kløver went on to say that "The south pole diaries of Hjalmar Johansen, Sverre Hassel, Olav Bjaaland, Oscar Wisting, Thorvald Nilsen, Jørgen Stubberud and Ludvik Hansen will be published shortly and in time for the anniversary next year. Most of them have been transcribed and translated, but there are still a lot of work on the many illustrations." This is good news.
—R. Stephenson
(6 September 2010)
Introduction by Fridtjof Nansen
The crew of the Third Fram Expedition
Christiania – Bergen (June 7, 1910 – July 10, 1910)
Kristiansand – Madeira (August 9, 1910 – September 5, 1910)
Madeira – Bay of Whales (September 9, 1910 – January 15, 1911)
The construction of Framheim and the depot expeditions (January 16, 1911 – March 22, 1911)
Winter in Framheim (March 23, 1911 – September 7, 1911)
Aborted attempt and a change of plans (September 8, 1911 – October 19, 1911)
The sledging expedition to the South Pole (October 20, 1911 – January 25, 1912)
The journey home (January 26, 1912 – June 12, 1912)
Roald Amundsen's additional notes from the South Pole diaries
The Fram by Commodore Christian Blom

"The Fram Museum is proud to make Roald Amundsen's diaries from the South Pole Expedition available to the public for the first time, almost a hundred years after they were written. Some of the contents will be known to readers of Amundsen's book The South Pole, published in 1913, but much of it will be new material for most people. This includes Amundsen's praise of his fellow crew members; his thoughts on the conflict with Hjalmar Johansen and details of daily life aboard the Fram and in the Framheim winter station.

The Amundsen diaries reveal in great detail every aspect of the preparations for the sledging expedition towards the South Pole and the "good life" in Antarctica. Amundsen is intensely proud of his comrades' efforts and the different solutions they come up with to improve their clothing and equipment. He muses on July 5, 1911, "…no-one before us has had equipment like this, not even remotely resembling it". He also writes about his puzzlement over the British explorers' choice of ponies and motor sledges and their lack of enthusiasm for dogs and fur clothing.

The Amundsen diaries give readers the opportunity to travel back in time to one of the highlights of international polar exploration. Amundsen kept his diary every day, so we can join him from the moment when the Fram left his home south of Oslo, until the telegram about his success was published all over the world in March, 1912. The diaries take us on an oceanographic cruise around the British Isles to Bergen, via Kristiansand and Madeira – where the crew was told about the change of plans for the expedition – and then on a four-and-a-half month voyage to Antarctica; through nine months of preparations under the ice in Framheim; 99 days of sledging to the South Pole and back, and the fi rst part of the journey home. This fi rst publication of Roald Amundsen's diaries from the Third Fram Expedition is illustrated with more than 270 photos from the expedition itself. Many of these are previously unpublished.

Roald Amundsen's diaries from the South Pole Expedition is the second in a long series of publications of the diaries of the Norwegian polar explorers. The first was Amundsen's diaries from the Belgica Expedition, 1897 – 99, which are currently being translated into English. In cooperation with the National Library of Norway, the Fram Museum will transcribe and publish all available diaries from the Norwegian polar expeditions; from the time of Fridtjof Nansen's crossing of Greenland until Nansen's and Otto Sverdrup's deaths in 1930. The diary publications of the Fram Museum will include six diaries from the First Fram Expedition, 1893 – 96 (Nansen); six diaries from the Second Fram Expedition, 1898 – 1902 (Sverdrup), and eight diaries from the South Pole Expedition, 1910 – 12. All the diaries will be translated into English."
—From the dustjacket.


"Roald Amundsen's diaries from the South Pole Expedition are finally available in both the original Norwegian text and an English translation. One hundred years have passed since the Fram left Amundsen's home just south of Oslo on its way southwards, but the interest in Amundsen and his expeditions remains. There is a continual flow of new articles and books on Amundsen and "the race to the South Pole" but hardly any of these writers have actually read the diaries of Roald Amundsen. This is perfectly understandable, of course. The South Pole diaries are only available in the National Library of Norway in Oslo; they are written in Norwegian, in an almost impenetrable handwriting, and alone include more than 1,000 pages.

Many people are interested in what Amundsen writes about his conflict with Hjalmar Johansen. But it is yet more interesting to read about the detailed preparations of the sledging expedition; life on the Fram during the long journey south; the construction of the winter station under the ice and the sledging expedition towards the South Pole.

Roald Amundsen enjoyed himself in the Antarctic. If you have read his diaries from the Belgica Expedition, you will already know this. The South Pole diaries reinforce the impression even further.

Twelve years have passed since he left Antarctica the last time. Now, he is in command. In the meantime, he has conquered the Northwest Passage. He has recruited an experienced crew and gained permission to use the Fram; the strongest ship ever built. He then surprises the world – and his own crew – by sending a telegram from Madeira announcing his decision to go southwards.

Amundsen's style is short and concise. But sometimes he writes long paragraphs on the excellent job his crew is doing; how much everybody loves the dogs and how beautiful the Southern Lights are. He is proud of the work being done to improve the equipment for the sledging expedition and how well the Framheim winter station is working. He cannot stop wondering why the British Antarctic expeditions are so negative towards dogs and fur clothing. He also has very little faith in ponies and motor sledges in Antarctica.

These diaries were not intended for publication, but as private notes and a foundation for Amundsen's published book. The content can be very personal and give a subjective version of the different incidents. By reading the diaries of the other crew members, one should get a good impression of the actual events. Amundsen's South Pole diaries include only the events Amundsen participated in. For descriptions of the third depot expedition we should refer to the diaries of Hjalmar Johansen and Sverre Hassel. Johansen also writes about his version of the conflict with Amundsen and the sledging expedition to King Edward VII Land, while Thorvald Nilsen writes about life aboard the Fram after the South Pole party went ashore. These diaries, in addition to the diaries of Olav Bjaaland and Oscar Wisting, will be published by the Fram Museum in connection with the Nansen and Amundsen anniversaries in 2011.

The intention of the Fram Museum is to communicate Norwegian polar history to a Norwegian and international audience. By publishing the diaries of as many crew members as possible – as they were written, there and then – we will be able to look at history from a new angle. It is important to show that there were more people behind the success in the Polar Regions than just the expedition leader; even though it was him that published the offcial account. All the diaries are transcribed as they were written, complete and unabridged, and translated into English. This will secure international access to these important first-hand sources.

Roald Amundsen's diaries from the South Pole Expedition are carefully digitized at the National Library of Norway. The time-consuming work of transcribing Amundsen's handwritten notes is done by volunteers from among the official tourist guides to Oslo. This book would not have been possible without the voluntary work of Aurora Sorter, Knut Aslaksen, Anne Sundby and Signe Jensen.

The English translation was carried out by Zena Støp and Jo Brannan.

Most of the Fram Museum staff was involved in this publication. Our designer, Marcus Thomassen, did a great job to make sure we reached our strict publication deadline on time.

The National Library of Norway is an important cooperation partner of the Fram Museum. Anne Melgård, Jina Chang, Guro Tangvald and Lillian Nikolaisen have been very helpful in connection with this publication.

Geir O. Kløver
The Fram Museum"

—The Foreword of the book.

THE LONGEST WINTER; SCOTT'S OTHER HEROES Meredith Hooper. London: John Murray, 2010. 358pp. 5 maps, 30 black and white photo plates, 1 drawing plate, 2 illustrations in the text. Hardcover: £20/$26.95. Paperback: £13.99/$19.95. ISBN-10: 0719595800; ISBN-13: 9780719595806. Published 10 June 2010. Web:

"Scott's Northern Party played an integral role in his iconic last expedition, but how did they survive? Through the eyes of the men involved, Meredith Hooper recounts one of the greatest tales of adventure and endurance, which has often been overshadowed by the tragedy which befell Scott. Their tents were torn, their food was nearly finished and the ship had failed to pick them up as planned. Gale-force winds blew, bitter with the cold of approaching winter. Stranded and desperate, the six men of the Northern Party faced disaster. Searching out a snow drift they burrowed inside. Lieutenant Victor Campbell drew a line across the floor in the gloom to establish naval order: three officers on one side, the three seamen on the other. A birthday was celebrated with a carefully hoarded biscuit and they sang hymns every Sunday, so what kept these men going? Circumstances forced them closer together, their roles blurred and a shared sense of reality emerged.
This mutual suffering made them indivisible and somehow they made it through the longest winter. To the south, the men waiting at headquarters knew that the Polar Party must be dead and hoped that another six men would not be added to the death toll. Working from expedition diaries, journals and letters written by expedition members, Meredith Hooper tells the intensely human story of Scott's other expedition."

About the author: "Meredith Hooper grew up in Australia and came to the UK to do a post-graduate degree at Oxford. She is the author of many remarkable books for children, acclaimed for the way they distil a wealth of research into writing which is both simple and powerful. Meredith Hooper has the rare, possibly unique, distinction of being selected as a writer in Antarctica by three government programmes the US National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Program, twice; by the British Admiralty, travelling on HMS Endurance; and by the Australian National Antarctic Research."
—From the publisher's website.
List of maps and illustrations
The British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13: characters and locations
Antarctic expeditions relevant to this account
Measurements and place-names
1 It must be an Englishman
2 Leaving London: 1 June–30 September 1910
3 The home run: 1 October–31 December 1910
4 The little village at our cape: 1–28 January 1911
5 In search of our home: 29 January–9 February 1911
6 Coal will decide: 12–20 February 1911
7 The unknown coast: 20 February–10 April 1911
8 Living at Cape Adare: 10 April–21 July 1911
9 The uncertainty of the ice: 27 July–6 August 1911
10 The damnedest luck: 21 August–20 October 1911
11 Penguin summer: 21 October 1911–1 January 1912
12 At last science!: 3 January–17 February 1912
13 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: 18 February–7 March 1912
14 Marooned: 10 March–1 April 1912
15 Icy isolation: 1 April–31 May 1912
16 Igloo winter: 11 June–31 July 1912
17 Dismal misery: 1 August–30 September 1912
18 Drygalski past: 1–27 October 1912
19 Saving themselves: 28 October–7 November 1912
20 Homewards: 8 November 1912–26 January 1913
Back in March Meredith described her book in an e-mail:—
"The 'other heroes' of my story are the six men of Scott's second expedition, set up to be completely independent of the main shore party, with their own hut, supplies and two ponies, ready to depart within days of landing in Antarctica. The six men were tasked to achieve the exploration of new land and the doing of science, while Scott focused on the need to achieve the Pole. Even before arriving in Antarctica the plans of this second expedition began to be bumped and bent, by the exigencies of ice and unlooked for events, but also by the pressures of alternative—as well as new—priorities.

I've worked from the diaries, journals and letters held in the Archives at Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, and the Mawson Archives in Adelaide, using where possible the voices of the six men. My aim has been to stay always within the mindset of the participants, never stepping beyond, to what they couldn't know. I wanted to re-set the focus, to involve readers in the absorbing business of living, working and exploring in Antarctic that was happening alongside and independently of the Polar attempt.

Through frustrations, adventures, and extreme hardships the six men came through to triumphant survival. Almost immediately, overwhelmed by the tragedy that befell the Polar party, their expedition became a side issue. I've long wanted to try freeing this core part of Scott's planning from the unavoidable constraints of hindsight bias. Scott's other expedition is a positive, optimistic story for the centenary; a success, counterbalancing inevitable sadness."
I've just received a copy and will report back once I've read it.

—R. Stephenson
(15 August 2010)

UPDATE: I just started the book a couple of days ago and am enoying it immensely. This is a serious study. More later.
(6 September 2010)

Here are some reviews of the book:
"A vivid reconstruction displays the true grit and peculiar Englishness of the six explorers who survived half a year holed up in an ice cave in the Antarctic…Meredith Hooper's authoritative and insightful chronicle of the "eastern party" of Robert Scott's final Antarctic expedition…the real pleasure lies less in the details of suffering and survival than in a journey into the strange, alien landscape of the Edwardian male mind…Hooper, with her keen antipodean's eye, finds diversion in the curiosities of class and etiquette on an awfully English expedition…this enjoyable, vivid study of the English in extremis." (Brian Schofield, Sunday Times. 6 June 2010)

"Hooper has produced a beautifully written and eminently readable account of the 'eastern'/'northern' party that should satisfy the most critical (not least me!)…Hooper is refreshingly non-judgemental and commendably objective throughout, and refrains from imposing present day standards onto characters and events of 100 years ago…She succeeds in simply 'telling it like it was', and allows the reader to form their own opinions and draw their own conclusions" (A. Macrae,, 18 June 2010)

"Theirs has been a neglected story until now, and Meredith Hooper tells it well…Meredith Hooper, who has visited Antarctica and written widely on the subject, has made judicious use of both published and unpublished material....a cracking story." (Sara Wheeler, The Mail on Sunday, 11 July 2010)

"Meredith Hooper's book tells the epic of Scott's other heroes, the party of six scientists whom he sent to explore the North Antarctic coast…This book relives their fears and squalid surroundings from day to day. Even as you lie in the sun on holiday, you will be chilled, gripped and amazed by the human resilience displayed in such awesome conditions" (Peter Lewis, The Daily Mail, Books to pop in your beach bag Summer Books, 16 July 2010)

"This year marks the centenary of the start of Scott's British Antarctic Expedition, which ended tragically in 1912…In this shivering, unsung story of incredible survival and stiff upper lips, there is genuine heroism to be celebrated" (Saga Magazine, July 2010)

"The events surrounding the 1910-12 expeditions to the South Pole have been written about so many times that it is hard to believe that there is anything new to say about the travails of Scott and Amundsen. It was a surprise then to come across The Longest Winter: Scott's other Heroes by Meredith Hooper, a tale that has never been fully told…At times the account feels almost Monty Pythonesque. However, The Longest Winter recounts a story that should certainly be up there in the pantheon of tales of endurance" (Richard Nelsson, chief librarian of the Guardian and the Observer,, 16 July 2010)

"Hooper tells this story with an impressive combination of flair and scholarship…By being the first to use diaries to give a voice to the members of the lower deck, she has not only expanded the knowledge of the events encountered by the Northern Party, but has broadened the interpretation and understanding of this entire segment of Scott's last expedition. This makes The Longest Winter a significant addition to the literature about the exploration of the Antarctic. As it is also a greatly enjoyable read, it should find a place on the book shelf of every polar enthusiast." (Beau Riffenburgh. Polar Record, Cambridge University Press, 2010)

"Antarctica historian Meredith Hooper has based this enthralling account on the men's diaries and letters. In a book where the expression "stiff upper lip" truly comes into its own, Hooper gives us a wonderful sense of immediacy as we follow the story of these extraordinary, forgotten men" (The Age, Melbourne)

"This is Antarctic non-fiction at its best. A real page turner that I read in two sittings. Having spent a dozen austral summers on the Antarctic ice, I can tell the true McCoy description of Polar life and teamwork when I read it—This little known tale of Scott's early South Polar explorers gets into the realities of living and working in the isolated days a century ago before telecoms and e mail. While the well known dramas of the South Polar race are in movies and books, Meredith Hooper tells the almost unknown tale of these extra-ordinary men of Scotts team who didnt go to the Pole, but explored and survived for over a year on a diet of only Weddell seal and penguin. Such a tale of extraordinary endurance. Hooper tells this tale intelligently,enchantingly and perceptively, often in the explorer's own words, since she has spent years studying the men's diaries at SPRI. Whats more she has visited the isolated Ross Sea spots where they lived or sailed past. It doesn't get any better than reading this Antarctic tale to help one imagine what real exploration was like on this extraordinarily inhospitable continent." (Dr Warren Zapol, Harvard Medical School)

"a scholarly and riveting account" (Clarke Isaacs, Otago Daily Times, 11/9/10)

"Meredith Hooper's accomplished and authoritative tale…Seldom has there been a better explanation of the haphazard imperial grit and vigour that painted the globe red, white and blue…Campbell's crew…planted no pioneering flags, discovered no new species and relegated no other nations to second place but, as Hooper wonderfully explains, they took that British public school mentality and proved, if nothing else, it can survive six months buried in snow." (Sunday Star Times, 10/10/10)

"This book, the result of very detailed and some original research, tells the story with great understanding and care. Meredith Hooper seems to be able to empathise fully with the predicament of the men and makes the story a very human one. She quotes extensively and appropriately from all diaries of the men to give the tale immediacy and authenticity…The six members of the Northern Party were cast iron heroes and Meredith Hooper has done a thorough job of research in bringing their magnificent achievement of survival to everyone's attention." (Paul Davies, Nimrod, The Journal of the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School, Volume 4, October 2010)

"Hooper burrows deeply into the courageous psyche of these enduring heroes, critically resurrect ting their role in Polar history that otherwise might have been forgotten. A book that adds much value to the literature of Antarctic expedition." (Colin Gardiner, The Oxford Mail, 2 September 2010)

RACE TO THE END: AMUNDSEN, SCOTT, AND THE ATTAINMENT OF THE POLE by Ross D. E. MacPhee. Pictorial boards, in a plastic slipcase. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2010. 245pp plus 4 folding panoramas and 2 folding maps. $27.95. ISBN: 978-1-4027-7029-6. Web:
In connection with the world-famous American Museum of Natural History: the gripping true story of the race to the South Pole. A beautifully told, impeccably researched, and stunningly illustrated account of the arduous quest to reach the last place on earth—for scientific knowledge, king and country, and the rewards that come with recognition. A century ago, two explorers from vastly different backgrounds—Robert Falcon Scott on the British side and Roald Amundsen on the Norwegian—set out with their companions for the South Pole. The race between these "ideal antagonists" resulted in grand heroism, bitter tragedy, and the birth and perpetuation of myths that have lingered ever since. Race to The End takes readers along on each team's trek to glory—a harrowing journey across Earth's harshest, most unforgiving terrain. MacPhee—a polar scientist himself—not only tells a superb story about the competition to be the first to stand at 90°S, but also provides keen insights into the scientific and cultural milieu of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. Using the explorers' own voices, he takes up the existential question always asked of those who embark on dangerous but potentially life-changing journeys: why do it? The book's extensively illustrated pages feature diary entries, letters, drawings, paintings, and period photographs. An added highlight is a series of never-before-published images of objects associated with the men of the British and Norwegian teams, including items recovered from Scott's last camp—where he died with his companions, mere miles from food and warmth.

Ross MacPhee is an evolutionary biologist and Curator of Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History, where he co-curated the museum's highly successful 1999 exhibition, "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition." He has conducted fieldwork in both polar regions; currently, he is searching for fossils of ancient mammals on islands in the northern Weddell Sea.

—From the publisher's website.
Chapter 1: The End Observed
Chapter 2: Scott Sails South
Chapter 3: Amundsen's "Small Excursion South"
Chapter 4: Challenge Served
Chapter 5: The Last of the Vikings
Chapter 6: Making Ready
Chapter 7: The Road to One Ton
Chapter 8: 42,000 Biscuits
Chapter 9: Taking Stock
Chapter 10: The Race Begins
Chapter 11: Barrier to Plateau
Chapter 12: Cigars and Black Flags
Chapter 13: "It is finished"
Chapter 14: "It is the tent"
Chapter 15: Amundsen Agonistes
Chapter 16: After the End
The Cast
Image Credits
About the Author
About the American Museum of Natural History
Panoramas & Maps
'Race to the End' is the companion volume for the major exhibition of the same name presently at New York's American Museum of Natural History. I've yet to see the exhibition but look forward to doing so in September or October. I sense that it is already on its way to becoming a blockbuster of the same magnitude as the Museum's 'Endurance' exhibition back in 1999. That exhibition (co-curated by MacPhee) along with Caroline Alexander's companion book The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition was a major cause of the Shackletonmania which is still with us today. But enough about the exhibition. What about the book?

In a word, it's superb! Among its attributes: Handsome layout and design. Very reasonable price. No errors that I could find. Many new facts and insights and many images not seen before. And excellent writing.

My initial conclusion was that it's a "fair and balanced" treatment of the Scott vs Amundsen question; somewhere between Huntford and Fiennes, if you will. And having ruminated about it for awhile, I still feel that way.

Two sections, both found in Chapter 16, particularly caught my interest. The first makes points that I don't recall having been made in the past:
"But how much do most people really know, or really want to know, about these men of the heroic age? If you think Shackleton was your kind of hero, does it matter that he was an acknowledged womanizer whose business dealings were sometimes shady? Or, in Amundsen's case, that he was an adulterer who made a practice of evading his creditors? If Bowers was a saint in your eyes, are you concerned that, by modem standards, he was a thoroughgoing racist and religious bigot? If Petty Officer Evans was a working-class hero, does this excuse the fact that he was also a loutish binge drinker? Most egregious of all: what, if it is true, as biographer Michael Smith contends, that in 1900 Oates fathered a child on an eleven-year-old girl? My point is that these were real people, with real lives and personal histories, in which things happened sometimes that were far from commendable or praiseworthy. If one seeks to understand them they first have to be accepted for what they were, free of notions concerning what is or is not a proper heroic personality. Those who are attracted to the strenuous life are, after all, rarely slaves to convention."
The second seems to me to represent a reasonable position without being overly strident:
"Yet for all of his obvious, documented failings there is a full measure of countervailing evidence concerning Scott's strength of character, his sense of justice, his willingness to do anything and everything he asked his men to do. It is just not conceivable that this man, who conducted not one but two expeditions to Antarctica, who had veterans and novices alike clamoring for positions on his team, was the blubbering, unstable incompetent that some authors have made him out to be. Scott may never receive the level of approbation that Shackleton has recently enjoyed, in part because Shackleton's apotheosis came for him comfortably late, long after the chief participants in his expeditions had died. Scott comes with much more baggage, and with a list of virtues that were considered exemplary in upper-class, prewar Britain, but which have little resonance today. Nevertheless, one expects that the wheel will turn again, when new attitudes take hold or old ones are reinterpreted."
Some other pluses:
• Chapter 15 gives a very good account of Amundsen's later life ending in his loss in the search for Nobile.
• Well-drafted, concise capsule bios of all the participants with birth and death dates and nicknames.
• An index (which so many books lack these days).
• A lovely set of "obsessively detailed panoramic panels" that first appeared in The Sphere in 1913 show the polar party's progress to the pole and return journey ending at the final camp.
• Wilson's annotated hand-drawn map of the polar journey as a fold-out. The original was found at the final camp.
• The covers of the book reproduce a detail from Dollman's famous painting of Captain Oates staggering out from the tent into the blizzard.

A few minor minuses:
• Although "companion to the exhibition" accurately describes the book, it's not a catalogue. There's no way for the reader to know whether an object pictured or an image included is, in fact, in the exhibition. If everything in the book is in the exhibition, this could have been stated at the outset. If some are and some are not, then a symbol might have been included in the caption to indicate that it is in the exhibition. In 2000-01 the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich hosted a similar exhibition "South; the Race to the Pole," the associated book of the same name having the same failing. One instance where it is very clear what's in the exhibition is Shackleton; The Antarctic and Endurance which focused on the exhibition, again of the same name, which was held at Dulwich College in 2000-01. Each image or object is numbered and the numbers corresponded with what was displayed.
• I've long maintained that Lyttelton, the port of Christchurch, is the most often misspelled word in the Antarctic lexicon. More often than not it appears as Lyttleton, reasonable enough but not correct. But on page 75, it's spelled 'Lytteltown,' a new one on me.
• Perhaps a page of selected websites could have been included.

These very minor points aside, the Race to the End is a major accomplishment and should be on the bookshelf of every Antarctican.
—R. Stephenson
(28 July 2010)

I did a review of MacPhee's book for volume 4 of 'Nimrod', the journal of the Shackleton Autumn school.

POLAR JOURNEYS; THE ROLE OF FOOD AND NUTRITION IN EARLY EXPLORATION by Robert E. Feeney. Washington, D.C. and Fairbanks: American Chemical Society / University of Alaska Press ©1997. 279pp. $45 cloth/$27.95 paper. ISBN-10: 0841233497 ISBN-13: 978-0841233492

"Stupidity, arrogance, foolishness - courage, brilliance, vision. The path to scientific discovery is never straight and not always rational. Such was the path to our current understanding of modern nutrition. In Polar Journeys: The Role of Food and Nutrition in Early Exploration, Professor Feeney, a real-life polar explorer and food biochemist, does a wonderful job describing the trial and error (and sometimes irrational) approach to establishing what we now know as "recommended daily allowance" (RDA) or the basic nutritional requirements for human health. Feeney traces the course of nutrition research from early explorers who ventured onto the oceans in small ships for months and years looking for new lands and learning the hard way, the basics of human nutrition. Did you know that ship rats are a good source of vitamin C? Did you know that 165 years after British Navy doctor James Lind found that citrus fruit cured scurvy, polar explorer, Robert Scott, still believed that scurvy was caused by ptomaine poisoning? Did you know that before there was an Atkins Diet, there was the "Eskimo Diet" which consisted of 2900 calories per day - 73% fat, 26% protein and 1% carbohydrate (one of the benefits of the Eskimo Diet was nearly odorless stool). Long before there were Institution Review Boards to oversee human experimentation, explorers were using the Earth's poles as laboratories to test the very limits (and beyond) of human endurance. Hundreds of men gave their lives, often needlessly, to discover that humans need a balanced diet of protein, fat and carbohydrate, laced with just the right mix of vitamins and minerals. If you like food, adventure and a good yarn well spun, you will enjoy this book."
—Review on

"In this unique book, distinguished biochemist Robert E. Feeney relates the history of polar exploration to the history of the science of nutrition, showing, for example, how advances in food preservation helped make possible human survival on the expeditions. The text covers the problems caused by too scant a supply of vitamins, most notably the role of diminished vitamin C in scurvy and too much of a good thing, in the case of hypervitaminosis from unknowingly overdosing on vitamin A. The author discusses also the Eskimo knowledge of foodstuffs and how the explorers learned valuable lessons from them, as well as how expedition members delayed in applying that learning because of their Eurocentric prejudices.
With extensive quotes from explorers' journals, historical menus, tables, and numerous illustrations, the author presents a vivid description of what the expeditions experienced, making a powerful case that the explorers not only traveled metaphorically on their stomachs, they lived and died by the quantity of their food and especially the quality of their nutrition."
—University of Alaska Press website.

(15 August 2010)

BIBLIOGRAPHIE ANTARCTIQUE EN LANGUE FRANÇAISE DE COOK (1772) AU TRAITÉ SUR L'ANTARCTIQUE (1959), AVEC UNE PARTIE LITTÉRATURE, FICTION ET BANDE DESSINÉE by Jean Pimentel. Paris: Éditions Paulsen, December 2009. [285]pp. Illustrated. Limted to 200 copies. Blue cloth with no dust jacket. €68. Web: Editions Paulsen
I was quite proud of myself after I successfully ordered this book from the French publisher's website, which has no English version, and when it arrived, it was the correct title and not a cookbiook! Unlike Rosove's magnificent bibliography, this one is pretty sparse on bibliographic descriptions. They're mostly limited to place of publication, publisher, date, pages, illustrations, maps, etc. I could find nothing about bindings, variants, etc. Citations to other bibliographies are included which is helpful. Much of the content of the bibliography is taken up with annotations and text descriptions which will prove to be its more useful features. Included below as a sample is the entry for Dumont d'Urville's Voyage au pôle Sud. I picked this particular one because I recently purchased a copy and I can attest to the fact that it's a bibliographically complicated title as attested to by the several pages accorded it by Rosove.

—R. Stephenson
(14 January 2010)
Aperçu géographique
Liste des sigles, acronymes et abréviations
Première partie Bibliographies
Deuxième partie Histoires Générales des Pôles et de l'Antarctique
Troisième partieère partie Chronologie des Expéditions
Quatrième partie Philatélie
Cinquième partie Littérature, Fiction, Bande Dessinée
Table des matières

Earlier notice under 'Books Due and Works-in-Progress:'
Jean Pimentel e-mails to say:

"I am writing to you to let you know about the publishing of a book I just finished writing: "Bibliographie antarctique française, de Cook au Traité sur l'Antarctique (1772-1959). Bibliographie commentée. As a matter of fact, up to now, there was no bibliography like those of Spence, Conrad or Rosove for French collectors. I have been working on that book for 4 or 5 years, starting from my own collection and then going deeper into the work.
My bibliography is first of all practical-minded with a selection of contemporary books both in French and in English, books that to me are a must for the subject.
Then you will find all that has been published in French about Antarctica for the period (1772-1959): general History of the poles, De Gerlache, Charcot, etc... and with the French translations of all the different expeditions (British, American, Russian, Norwegian...). An important section is devoted to the "française" led by Paul-Emile Victor (1947-1959).
Finally a long chapter deals with fiction, philately and comics.
You will find useful information to see and possibly order the book on the website of my editor: Editions Paulsen. …
I think that a lot of English-speaking collectors are not aware of the extent of French and Belgian publications about Antarctica."
(9 December 2009)

Annotated by Damien Sanders. Dinan, France: Nunatak Press, 2009. 213pp including 34 illustrations and maps. Tall format paperback. £19; €22; $30, plus postage. It's also available from the Shop@SPRI. ISBN: 978-2-7466-0930-3. E-mail: Web: The publisher apparently has no website but the there's a good review in the September 2009 issue of the South Georgia Newsletter. And one can download from this site, lengthy additional information on the book.
"Thomas Smith was born around 1801, under another (yet undetermined) name. At the age of seven or eight he ran away from home, first living with a band of Gypsies and then going to sea on a collier. The rest of his life was at sea. He was serving on naval transports in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars before absconding. Then he made four Antarctic sealing voyages, three to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and one to the South Shetland Islands on their discovery. The Falkland Islands were a port of call on the way south. His ship was wrecked thrice during these adventures.

Thence when serving in the Sperm Whale industry in the Pacific Ocean he became associated with the revolutionary wars in South America to the east and the Maori conflicts to the west. He landed on the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island while following whales through the Pacific islands from New Zealand to Japan.

On a subsequent voyage to African waters Smith was shipwrecked off the coast of Mozambique and, after rescue, ended up in Massachusetts, United States. There, in deteriorating health, he wrote his memoirs which were probably published posthumously."
—From the back-cover blurb.
Preface (from the first edition)
Editorial Introduction (by the annotator)
List of illustrations (34 in all)
The Life and Travels… pp10-172.
Appendices pp173-200.
   1. The disputes at Livingston Island in 1821, and the discovery of the Antarctic continent. An outline of the fur seal trade during the early nineteenth century. Vessels at the South Shetland Islands during the 1829-21 austral summer. Some major voyages at this time: William Smith, Fabian Bellingshausen, James Weddell.
   2. Details of the background to and course of the 'Girls' War', Bay of Islands, New Zealand, February to 18 March 1830.
   3. Tom Smith, summary of ships, voyages and ports of call.
   4. Definitions of versels in the narrative and annotations.
   5. Biographical chronology.
Bibliography; Archival and Other Sources pp201-208.
Index pp209-212.

Michael Rosove describes Smith and his book in his splendid bibliography (Antarctica, 1772-1922; Freestanding Publications through 1999. Santa Monica: Adélie Books, 2001):

"Thomas W. Smith was born in the English county of Kent. His father died when the lad was three years old, and his mother, interested that her son not associate with "wicked boys", had him work at various estates where he received no education and was frequently abused. He ran away and lived with gypsys until he turned to a life as a seaman. This book is a narrative of the author's voyages, including seven whaling voyages to the Pacific. He went elephant seal hunting in the Falkland Islands and to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in 1816-18 (chapters X-XII), and whaling and sealing to the South Shetland Islands in 1820 (chapter XIII). He reached New Bedford, Massachusetts, on an American whaler in 1832 and eventually settled there, became religious, and published this book.

Smith's visits to the South Shetland Islands aboard the schooner Hetty of London during the austral summer of 1820 took place only a year after the islands' discovery: Smith's narrative constitutes one of the earliest known-and, for that matter, one of the only-published accounts of the sealing activities there. With no laws preventing more than one party of sealers from exploiting a beach, and with territorial imperatives running strong, the sealers defended their domains by intimidation or force. Smith gives a vivid account of the sealing operations and documented a violent encounter with his fellow English countrymen of the Indian. The take of skins and oil was good, but the marketplace back home was already oversupplied, all but wiping out the profitability of the voyage.

Regarding his writing, Smith commented, "Unadorned by the flowers of rhetoric, he leaves it to the reader, to judge of its merit or demerit." The book is in fact well written and pleasant reading. The full title of the book is—yes, indeed—adorned and flowery, although not atypical for the publishing period when a lengthy subtitle was employed to abstract the work. …

Smith's book is so rare and little known that it was missed in the exhaustive multivolume Bibliography of American Imprints to 1901 (New York, Munich, London, Paris: K. G. Saur, 1993). It was overlooked by all Antarctic bibliographers except Spence."
(11 December 2009)
—R. Stephenson

NIMROD; THE JOURNAL OF THE ERNEST SHACKLETON AUTUMN SCHOOL edited by Seamus Taaffe. Athy: The Ernest Shackleton Autumn School Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Vol 3, October 2009. 139pp. Wrappers. €10. ISSN: 2009-0366. Copies may be obtained from the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Town Hall, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. E-mail for further details:

Launched at the 7th Annual Shackleton Autumn School, the third volume of Nimrod includes six articles and four book reviews:
'Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean: Two Irish Antarctioc Heroes,' by Stephanie Barczewski.
'Who are these Shackleton's?' by Jonathan Shackleton.
'Irish Norse and Inuit: Early Medieval Voyages of Exploration in the North Atlantic,' by Aidan O'Sullivan.
'The Antarctic Treaty and Ireland,' Robert Headland.
'Shakleton's First Two Public Lectures on his return from the Endurance Expedition,' Jim McAdam and Geraldine McDonald.
Nimrod Illustrated: Pictures from Lieutenant Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition, by David M. Wilson. Reviewed by Michael Rosove.
The Dictionary of Falklands Biography (including South Georgia) from Discovery up to 1981,' by David Tatham. Reviewed by Robert Philpott.
The Entire Earth and Sky: Views on Antarctica, by Leslie Carol Roberts. Reviewed by Stephen Scott-Fawcett.
A Chronology of Antarctic Exploration. A Synopsis of Events and Activities from the Earliest Times until the International Polar Years, 2007-09, by Robert Keith Headland. Reviewed by Robert B. Stephenson.
(8 November 2008)

THE SHACKLETON LETTERS: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE NIMROD EXPEDITION by Regina W. Daly. Norwich: The Erskine Press, 2009. 350pp including three appendices, 36 photographs, and a reproduction of the 1907 General Map showing the Explorations and Surveys that Ernest Shackleton included in his first edition of The Heart of the Antarctic. £27.50. ISBN: 978-18-52971-01-4. Web:
Available in the US ($79) at Top of the World Books, 182 Orchard Commons Road, Hinesburg, VT 05461. Web:
Ernest Shackleton was obsessed by the Antarctic. He had written to his sister saying 'You can't think what it is like to walk over places where no man has walked before.' He was disappointed at his showing during Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition—he had collapsed and was sent home because of "ill health" before the end of the expedition. Back in England Shackleton tried his hand at journalism, management, politics, and business but was not particularly successful in any of these pursuits, finding he could not put Antarctica behind him. He wanted to be first to the South Pole, partly for the glory, partly for the fortune he expected to enjoy from a book and public appearances upon its attainment, and possibly to prove his worth to his wife whose social status was higher than his own.

Raising the money for the expedition was fraught with difficulties but in 1907 he set sail, aboard the Nimrod.

Here, gathered together for the first time, are 165 letters and telegrams exploring the inner thoughts of an heroic man with far-reaching dreams. His emotions are revealed through personal correspondence with Scott, Dr. Edward Wilson, Sir Clements Markham and many others. They give an insight not only into the mind and character of this great explorer but into the internal politics of the time, as Shackleton did not pen all the letters in the collection; many were written to him or between others about him.

The author details the history leading up to the expedition, through the trials of the year on the ice and the various sledging journeys, and then the return to England and the reception Shackleton received from the public, the press and the Royal Geographical Society.

Correspondence covering the dismissal of Captain England, Shackleton's 'bequests' in the event of his non-return from his attempt to reach the Pole and family concerns about the financial situation are included, and the last section of the book reproduces Shackleton's intimate letters to his wife, Emily, and to Elspeth Beardmore, for whom he had a deep affection.

—From the author
(26 August 2009)
A Note About the Letters
PART I Historical Sketches
   Life Before the Nimrod Expedition
   Shackleton and Scott Contend over McMurdo Sound
   Letters 1-65
PART 2 Historical Sketches
   Forces of Nature Compel McMurdo Sound Landing
   The Shackleton-England Affair
   Letters 66-92
PART 3 Historical Sketches
   Autumn and Winter Labours
   The Ascent of Mt. Erebus and Spring Preparations
   Shackleton's Liberality and its Consequences
   Letters 93-108
PART 4 Historical Sketches
   The Northern Party Journey Toward the South Magnetic Pole
   The Western Party Journey
   Shackleton's Southern Journey
PART 5 Historical Sketch
   Kudos, Criticism, and Rumours of a New Expedition
   Letters 109-136
   I. Shackleton's Intimate Correspondence with Emily and Elspeth
   Letters 137-165
   II. Telepgraphed dispatch to Shacketon's Expedition
   III. Report by A.E. Reeves, RGS Map Curator
List of Letters
Picture Credits
General map showing the Explorations and Surveys of the Expedition

NIMROD ILLUSTRATED. PICTURES FROM LIEUTENANT SHACKLETON'S BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION David M. Wilson. Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing, 2009. 168pp. Hardcover. Profusely illustrated in color and black & white ("over 500 pictures") £39.99; Special Limited Edition, bound in leather £150. ISBN: 9781873877906. Special Limited Edition ISBN: 9781873877913. Web:

"To celebrate the centenary of one of the most exciting expeditions of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration comes "Nimrod Illustrated". The book is a remarkable collage of expedition photographs, paintings and ephemera in a deliberate reminiscence of the expedition scrapbooks kept by so many of the expedition participants at the time. Many of the images are rarely seen, if ever before published, whilst others are better known.Together with quotations from the diaries of expedition participants, they tell the story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909 which saw the first use of ponies and motor cars in the Antarctic; achieved the first ascent of Mount Erebus; achieved the first attainment of the South Magnetic Pole; and, took Shackleton within 100 miles of the South Geographic Pole to attain a dramatic new 'Farthest South' record. This was the expedition that made Shackleton's name as an explorer and for which he was awarded his knighthood. Edited by Dr. D. M. Wilson, "Nimrod Illustrated" is a treat for anyone interested in Shackleton, the Antarctic, polar exploration or the atmosphere of the Edwardian age. It is a part of the well regarded series commenced with "Discovery Illustrated: Pictures from Captain Scott's First Antarctic Expedition" (2001)."
—From the publisher's website.
Chapter One: The Gathering
Chapter Two: Southward
Chapter Three: In the Shadow of Erebus
Chapter Four: Winter Quarters
Chapter Five: Antarctic Spring
Chapter Six: Summer Sledging
Chapter Seven: The Relief Voyage of Nimrod
Chapter Eight: The Homecoming
Epilogue: 100 Years On
Members of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909
Select Bibliography
Picture List and Copyright Acknowledgements
Conversion table
"All the royalties from the book will benefit the Shackleton Memorial Library at the Scott Polar Research Institute."

As David says in his Preface, "This is a scrap book." Although there is substantial text, it is the images that are of interest and value. Many of them are new to me and probably appear for the first time. There is quite a range: oil paintings and watercolors; sketches; black and white and color photographs; newspaper clippings; advertizing art; menus, tickets, invitations and other ephemera; maps; music; trade cards; letters and more. A great effort that results in a perfect companion piece to The Heart of the Antarctic and recent books on the Nimrod expedition.
—R. Stephenson
(24 June 2009)

INNOCENTS IN THE DRY VALLEYS. AN ACCOUNT OF THE VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF WELLINGTON ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1958-59 Colin Bull. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2009. 267pp, illustrations (many in color), maps (one folding). NZ$50. ISBN: 978-0-864-73594-2. Web:
Foreword by Dr Eddie Robertson
Introduction by Dr Peter Barrett
Author's Note
Dramatis Personnae
Chapter 1. An idea
Chapter 2. Loife in Noo Zillun
Chapter 3. Dear Sir, I write on behalf. . .
Chapter 4. Go. No, stop! No, go! Scott Base
Chapter 5. Landed gentry
Chapter 6. An enigmatic lake and a remarkable saga
Chapter 7. A trip to the seaside
Chapter 8. And the walk back 'home' again
Chapter 9. Along for a short while, maybe
Chapter 10. The End. Wait for the applause!
Chapter 11. Aftermath
Conversion table

Colin Bull, in his most recent book catalogue (first in "18 months"), has these introductory words to say at the very top of the first page:

"Last week I corrected the publisher's blurb that is to appear in their next catalogue, about a new masterpiece called Innocents in the Dry Valleys. That is an account of the first university expedition to the Antarctic. In 1958 I had the wonderful opportunity to take four members (including me) of Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition 1958-59 to the Wright Valley area of south Victoria Land. You know me for the modest chap I am—but the expedition was a roaring success and the forerunner of 50, and still counting, expeditions to the Antarctic from that little university.
Anyway, while I wait for the copy-editor to devastate my perspicacious prose and set it all in print, I've collected these titles into a catalogue, with low prices in an attempt to generate shelf space."
(8 November 2008)

UPDATE: Colin recently sent on a pdf of the book's cover. Here's some info. Title: Innocents in the Dry Valleys; An Account of the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition, 1958-59. 272 pages, 90 color photographs and maps. ISBN: 978-0-864-73594-2. No indication of price or publication date. Here's the cover blurb:

"In 1958-59 a physicist, a biologist and two undergraduate geology students from Victoria University of Wellington spent a summer discovering parts of the Dry Valleys of Victoria Land, Antarctica. This expedition began what has become an annual and very fruitful Antarctic research programme from the university, spanning the last fifty years—so far. These days the expeditions are organised by the internationally respected Antarctic Research Centre. They may cost tens of thousands of dollars and often involve highly specialised equipment. Colin Bull and his companions, Dick Barwick, Barrie McKelvey, and Peter Webb, using food, equipment and transport that was mostly begged, borrowed or even salvaged from the Scott Base rubbish dump, carried out research for two months for under $1000. With droll humour, Bull recounts the adventures of these four hardy and resourceful scientists, who seemed to revel in the adverse conditions, lack of funding and battles with bureaucracy. Dr Colin Bull, geophysicist, glaciologist and cook, was a senior lecturer in physics at Victoria University at the time of this first university Antarctic expedition. He later became Director of the Institute of Polar Studies at The Ohio State University, 1965-69, when he sent the first women scientists to Antarctica. Since retiring as Dean of the College of Math and Physical Sciences he has co-edited a biography of Sir Charles Wright, for whom he named Wright Valley, this first research area, and has written Innocents in the Arctic (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2005), an account of his first polar expedition. Bull Pass is one of four significant features named for the expedition members at the time. Bull Lake, two kilometres broad and fully ten centimetres deep in places, was named for him by his students when he became Dean."
(29 March 2009)

(24 June 2009)

THE ANTARCTIC FROM THE CIRCLE TO THE POLE. Photographs by Stuart Klipper. Introduction by Guy G. Guthridge, Essays by Steven J. Pyne and William L. Fox. Published by Chronicle Books. Hardcover. 176pp, 120 color photographs. $40. ISBN: 978-0-8118-6229-5. Web:

"The Antarctic—Antarctica remains largely unknown and infinitely fascinating. Stuart Klipper has traveled to Antarctica six times in twenty years to photograph this astounding body of work, offering a sweeping look at this majestic continent, which has lately become central to global climate change concerns. Shot in panoramic format—the only way to encompass a landscape that seems to stretch on forever—Klipper's work captures major features and surprising details: ships suspended in the frozen sea, glowing blue icebergs, vistas of endless snow, and troops of penguins. This volume's substantial size, panoramic shape, and unique vertical-opening case emphasize the grandeur of these austere and lovely photographs from the bottom of the world."
(24 June 2009)

BODY AT THE MELBOURNE CLUB; BERTRAM ARMYTAGE, ANTARCTICA'S FORGOTTEN MAN David Burke. Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield, 2009. 170pp. Illustrations. Softcover. Price: A$27.95. NZ$34.95ISBN: 978-1-86254-833-6. Web:

"This mystery-cum-biography provides a new perspective on arguably Shackleton's greatest expedition, which unfolds as one of the epics of the polar heroic age. Author David Burke reconstructs the strange, adventurous and troubled life of Bertram Armytage, Antarctica's forgotten man.

Bertram Armytage, the son of a wealthy squatter, a popular sportsman, and a member of the social elite of Melbourne was the first Australian-born member of an Antarctic expedition. But why did Bertram Armytage become the body in Room 24 of Melbourne's most exclusive gentlemans club?

An expert horseman, he was given charge of the ponies in Ernest Shackleton's great 1907-1909 British Antarctic Expedition, he led the Western Party into Ferrar Glacier and narrowly escaped the jaws of killer whales. In London he was decorated by royalty, but on coming home to Australia, leaving behind a wife and infant daughter, he went to one of his part-time city residences, the exclusive Melbourne Club, put on his dinner suit and polar medals and, at the age of 41, shot himself.

Bertram is left to us as a figure devoid of footsteps across history's pages. Of a life led amid the squattocracy of western Victoria and the elite of Melbourne society, on a privileged path into Geelong Grammar School, University of Cambridge, big game hunting and the cavalry of the South African War and finally Antarctica, we have neither diary, letters nor notes; just a solitary newspaper interview.

The release of the book coincides with International Polar Year 2007-2009 and the centenary of the British Antarctic Expedition.

'I have known men like Bertram, sometimes young men in their early adulthood, who have killed themselves and for precisely the same reason; what they considered was a failure to reach their potential, believing themselves to be beyond hope and worthless I frequently found myself very moved by aspects of his character, and in reading the comments made about him by his colleagues.' —Professor Marie Bashir, AC CVO—Governor of New South Wales.

David Burke OAM, a former journalist with the Melbourne Herald, the Sun, and the Sydney Morning Herald, has made six visits to Antarctica and written three books on the subject. He and Dr P. G. Law are the first (and so far, only) Australians to make a direct flight from Australia to the South Pole as members of a long-range US Navy crossing of the bottom of the world. David lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. This is his 22nd book."

—From the publisher's press release.
Foreword by Professor Marie Bashir
1. The Western Party
2. Armytage Country
3. The Rower
4. The Bridegroom
5. Locking the Gates
6. The Dragoons
7. Australia Contributes
8. The Voyager
9. Reaching McMurdo
10. Volcano
11. Baptism of Frost
12. Brush with Killers
13. The Heroes
14. Escape
15. Last Days
16. Why?
   1. Press interview with Armytage
   2. Shackleton's instructions to Armytage
   3. Armytage's report to Shackleton
   4. Shackleton penguin sketch
   6. Death of Armytage
Acknowledgements and Sources
Glossary of Polar Terms
Here we are in the centenary period of Shackleton's Nimrod expedition so this book on one of the lesser known members of the expedition is welcomed. I love the title which is what gets your attention. Not so if it were a true murder mystery—which it's not—but certainly so for a book on an Antarctic explorer.
I learned a lot about the Australia "squattocracy" and a little but not too much more about the expedition. (There are, of course, books on the expedition with far more detail.) So for me the first half was more absorbing than the second. (I'll be in Melboune in 2010 so there are now a few more 'Antarctic' sites I can add to my list of places to visit.)
You can't help thinking of Captain Oates when you read about Armytage: Somewhat solitary, veterans of the Boer War, in charge of ponies, members of the Cavalry Club, committed suicide.
Criticisms? Well, there is a bit of filler (Shackleton's blackboard penguin sketch hardly seems relevant) and the occasional misspelling (Coleman's Mustard, Charring Cross, and how could the author get Priestley's name wrong throughout the book!?). Nonetheless, a worthwhile read.
—R. Stephenson
(22 April 2009)

A CHRONOLOGY OF ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION Robert K. Headland. London: Bernard Quaritch Ltd., 2009. 722pp, illustrations, maps. £110. ISBN: 978-0-9550852-8-4. Web:

Well, it's finally come to pass. Bob's multi-year project is now complete and extended celebrations will now commence, starting with a launch on 20 February at New Zealand House.

My copy is on order and although there's a lot of background below (and information on the Quaritch website), I'll wait until it arrives before venturing an opinion. I'm sure it will have been worth the wait.

—R. Stephenson
(15 February 2009)

I did an extensive review of the Chronology for volume 3 of Nimrod, the journal of the Shackleton Autumn school.

—R. Stephenson
(11 December 2009)


ANTARCTIC CHRONOLOGY by Robert K. Headland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Due for publication probably in late 2001.
Bob is putting the finishing touches on the revision and expansion of his massive Chronological List of Antarctic Expeditions and Related Historical Events (Cambridge University Press, 1989). There will be an improved introduction, over 200 new entries and additional new material.

UPDATE: Late 2001 has come and gone. No recent news on when Bob's 'Chronology' will appear.
—R. Stephenson
(30 August 2002)

UPDATE: Ditto 2002. What's the score, Bob?
—R. Stephenson
(6 March 2003)

UPDATE: Ditto 2003. I actually saw the latest version of the manuscript earlier this month at SPRI, so it exists but there was a sort of indefiniteness as to publication date.
—R. Stephenson
(28 May 2003)

UPDATE: At the recent Athy Shackleton Autumn School Bob had bound proofs of the Chronology so it may reach the light of day in the not too distant future.
—R. Stephenson
(9 November 2003)

UPDATE: Imminent, I'm told.
—R. Stephenson
(29 September 2004)

UPDATE: Apparently some problems with maps.
—R. Stephenson
(22 May 2005)

UPDATE: Maps still a problem, but I did see the proofs at SPRI when there this month!
—R. Stephenson
(29 November 2005)

UPDATE: I saw Bob in November and he had the bound draft in his hands, but maps still a problem.
—R. Stephenson
(2 December 2006)

UPDATE:Earlier this month Bob reported that he has a new publisher and the book might be in the shops by the new year!
—R. Stephenson
(18 June 2008)


You have all, undoubtedly many times, heard about the new, rather prolonged, edition of my book on Antarctic chronology. Ultimately I have some good news. Yesterday afternoon I gave the manuscript, illustrations, maps, histograms, and the rest of it to the publisher. This is now Bernard Quaritch in London, which has been much more help than Cambridge University Press.

It is now to go to a sub-editor and I assume some minor (I hope it will be minor) adjustments are to be expected. These I will incorporate on my return from the Arctic in late August. I have seen a mock-up of the complete volume and like it; an A4 dark-blue cloth-bound volume on 60 gsm opaque paper. It will have 717 pages (a door stop, or heavy enough to kill small rodents if your aim is good).

It is, for me, excellent, and rather a relief, to see it reach this state but I will avoid too much celebration until the printing is done. The publisher thinks this will take only two months from the time it is submitted. I hope to submit the final version by the end of August (2008). If all goes well this will be in September and October, thus the party will be in November (when the millstone is fully off my shoulders).

I owe many people thanks for getting this work finished. The last few months have had me completing much of the illustrations and similar extras, and then preparing the camera-ready pages. I am, as you can imagine, pleased that this is nearly finished and I will have some spare time for other things.

On Thursday (26th June) I depart for the Northeast Passage so this date was a major one for submission of the mss (as well as get everything ready for the voyage).
(21 June 2008)

Bernard Quaritch Ltd.

The International Polar Years, from 2007 to 2009, provide an appropriate time to conclude a compilation of the historical chronology of all Antarctic regions. This fortuitously coincides closely with the 50th anniversaries of the establishment of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in 1958, and the adoption of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959. The work was prepared during 25 years at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, by the former archivist.

The regions covered are the far southern parts of the Earth in general and Antarctica in particular. They are principally the regions with which the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research is concerned and cover all areas under the ægis of the Antarctic Treaty as well as those defined by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The development of knowledge of these remote parts of the Earth is demonstrated historically; thus the early voyages which discovered the Cape of Good Hope and Cabo de Hornos are described, with those to several far southern temperate islands (Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands, and some of the oceanic islands around New Zealand), especially those voyages which are important in the early history of the regions farther south. For most of the subsequent period, after the early 1800s, the area covered is the Antarctic continent and adjacent islands, as well as the 19 peri-Antarctic islands (South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands, Shag Rocks, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, Bouvetøya, Gough Island, Prince Edward Islands, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen, Iles Saint-Paul et Amsterdam, Heard Island, Macquarie Island, Balleny Islands, Scott Island, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, and Peter I øy). Details of the peculiar, but fascinating, 19 'non-existent islands' are included.

Voyages range from those directly engaged in exploration and research to accidental discoveries by early merchant vessels blown off course. Sealers, mainly during the 1800s, and whalers in the 1900s are included because their activities had such profound effects on Antarctic biota. The compilation contains 4865 entries from 700 BC to 2008. The majority of these are for expeditions or voyages and give dates, nationalities, leaders (or captains, etc), vessels, places visited, a concise description, and, where appropriate, a reference. For other events a date, details of persons, countries, and inventions, and a brief description are provided. Occasional entries depart from these forms, depending on their significance and the amount of information available.

The early entries consist mainly of explorations and voyages penetrating to far southern regions. The majority of the nineteenth-century expeditions were undertaken by sealers, who discovered many and visited nearly all the peri-Antarctic islands, and there are also records of several scientific expeditions. The period from about 1890 until the First World War includes the brief, but intense, expeditionary activity during the 'heroic age' of Antarctic exploration. The whaling industry also began in the period. Thence, until the Second World War, whaling was the major activity which is recorded with the discontinuous scientific expeditions of various nationalities. The regular annual expeditions of several countries form the bulk of the entries for the period after 1945 and these are continued to the present. Information from this current period includes the opening and closing of stations, major traverses, brief details of scientific programmes, and a large variety of other events.

The related historical events included are concise details of inventions and discoveries which have been important in Antarctic exploration (for instance: aircraft, photography, preservation of food, the Primus stove, and the cause of scurvy); political events, treaties and wars affecting the region; the foundation of scientific institutes and initiation of publications concerned with Antarctica; and similar subjects.

Each entry is numbered and indexed by these numbers. The index contains approximately 50,000 entries including: names of persons and vessels (with dates in parentheses), place-names, names of institutes and publications, names of Antarctic stations, inventions, legislation, and other historical events. The index is comprehensive and occupies a substantial part of the text. References to published material are given for entries where this is appropriate and practicable. Much of the information is derived from a great variety of unpublished sources ranging from Antarctic Treaty and Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research reports, correspondence with Antarctic research organizations and specialists, inscriptions, plaques, and grave markers on peri-Antarctic islands, and many others.

The majority of entries for countries currently undertaking Antarctic expeditions has been checked by persons in the institutes involved who have also provided many additional details. The compiler is greatly indebted to these correspondents for assistance in having the list as complete and correct as practicable.

The work has a comprehensive introduction describing its development and structure. The geography of Antarctica and the peri-Antarctic islands is concisely described and followed by a synoptic account of the historical stages of the region. Exploitation of Antarctic resources (sealing, whaling, and fishing) is covered and illustrated graphically. A section includes details of current circumstances, particularly the diplomacy involved with territorial claims, the Antarctic Treaty System, and modern national operations. Maps and plates are include to show the development of knowledge of the far south, the locations of places mentioned in the text, and events of several selected expeditions.

Earlier versions of the compilation have appeared in Polar Record (1958) and were published by Cambridge University Press (1989). These have proved useful in a very wide range of disciplines, including: history, politics, geology, glaciology, botany, zoology, meteorology, several other sciences, as well as philately and similar pursuits. They have proven very helpful in cataloguing Antarctic literature.

The book is to be published by Bernard Quaritch Ltd, Lower John Street, Golden Square, London, United Kingdom, W1F 9AU (Telephone: + 44 (0) 20 7734 2983, Facsimile: 7437 0967, e-mail contact: ). It will be a hardbound volume of 722 pages (including 40 plates, 27 maps, and 21 histograms). The ISBN is 978-0-9550852-8-4. It is expected to be available in early 2009 and will cost £110.

R. K. Headland
Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, United Kingdom, CB2 1ER.
12 September 2008
—Thanks to John Splettstoesser for forwarding this on. I have since revised it slightly with new information provided by Bob which accompanied this e-mail dated 3 October:
"On Wednesday afternoon, 1 October, I gave the page proofs for the Antarctic Chronology I have been working on from 1983 to the publisher.
I am informed the book will be available by early 2009.
This is, as you all know, rather a relief for me and I am looking forward to its appearance. This is, by fortunate coincidence, during the current International Polar Years as well as around the 50th anniversaries of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the Antarctic Treaty (not to mention Cambridge's 800th).
The attached note describes the work and gives the publisher's details.
For those interested, and in the vicinity, there will be a publishing event early in the New Year, shortly after I return from the Antarctic.
I will soon have a bit more free time to accomplish several more things which have been described as 'the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.'"

ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS SUPPLEMENT TO THE ROSOVE ANTARCTIC BIBLIOGRAPHY. Michael H. Rosove. Santa Monica: Adélie Books, 2008. 28.8 cm, quarter dark brown cloth, linen-backed boards, gilt, high-quality, acid-free papers, Smyth-sewn, headbands, without dust-wrapper as issued. pp. xiii, (1), 49, (1); 2 plate leaves (4 color photographs). $75. Web:

"This long-awaited supplement, concerning the same subject period as the original bibliography, has resulted from the contributions of over fifty polar book collectors, booksellers, and historians. Heretofore unrecognized publications are now described, with much additional information about previously reported publications, with correction of errors."
—From the publisher's website.


Michael H. Rosove e-mails to say:

"Believe it or not, I'll be in press with the Additions and Corrections Supplement to the Rosove Antarctic Bibliography (that's the official title) tomorrow. Copies should be available well before the end of the year. I'm excited about it, to say the least."
(14 August 2008)
UPDATE: Michael e-mails to say: "I received all the printed materials and dropped everything off to the binder yesterday and selected binding materials, reviewed details, etc. The binding will be approximately matched to the original bibliography. If all goes well, I'll have books for distribution in about 4 to 6 weeks."
(10 October 2008)
—R. Stepehenson
(15 February 2009)

FACE TO FACE: POLAR PORTRAITS Huw Lewis-Jones. Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Afterword by Hugh Brody. New photography by Martin Hartley. Cambridge: Polarworld on behalf of the Scott Polar Research Institute, 10 November 2008. [288]pp. £40 hardback; £25 soft-back. There is a special 'Expedition Edition' limited to 100 copies priced at £500. ISBN: 978-0-901021-08-3 soft-cover. ISBN: 978-0-901021-07-6 hardback. Web:
This is a superb collection of photographs—historic and modern—beautifully presented and described. Of particular interest to me is the wealth of information on the history of polar photography.
The book was launched, at least unofficially, at the 8th Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, Ireland, last month. The exhibit of photographs from the book (along with cameras from Scott's last expedition) is appearing at the Athy Heritage Centre until 21 November and will then travel to London (Royal Geographical Society), New York (Explorers Club), Dundee (Discovery Point) and Los Angeles (venue unknown).
—R. Stephenson
This unique book by Huw Lewis-Jones is the first to examine the history and role of polar exploration photography, and showcases the very first polar photographs of 1845 through to images from the present day. Almost all the historic imagery has never been before the public eye. In addition to this remarkable collection is a foreword written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes; a fascinating exploration into 'photography then' and 'photography now', focusing on the essential role that photography plays in polar adventuring; and an afterword by the best-selling author Hugh Brody.

A lavish account of pioneering polar photography and modern portraiture, "Face to Face: Polar Portraits" brings together in a single volume both rare, unpublished treasures from the historic collections of the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), University of Cambridge, 'face to face' with cutting-edge modern imagery from expedition photographer Martin Hartley. This unique book by Huw Lewis-Jones is the first to examine the history and role of polar exploration photography, and showcases the very first polar photographs of 1845 through to images from the present day. It features the first portraits of explorers, some of the earliest photographs of the Inuit, the first polar photographs to appear in a book, and rare images never before published from many of the Heroic-Age Antarctic expeditions. Almost all the historic imagery—daguerreotypes, magic lantern slides, glass plate negatives and images from private albums—that have been rediscovered during research for this book have never been before the public eye. Set within a 'gallery' of 100 double page-spreads are 50 of the world's finest historic polar portraits from the SPRI collection alternated with 50 modern-day images by Martin Hartley, who has captured men and women of many nations, exploring, working, and living in the Polar Regions today. Each gallery spread, dedicated to a single individual, gives a sense of the isolation and intense personal experience each 'face' has had in living or travelling through the polar wilderness, whether they be one of the world's greatest explorers, or a humble cook. In addition to this remarkable collection is a foreword written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes; a fascinating exploration into 'photography then'— the history of photography and its role in shaping our vision of the polar hero by historian and curator of art at SPRI, Dr Huw Lewis-Jones; a discussion between Dr Lewis-Jones and Martin Hartley about 'photography now', focusing on the essential role that photography plays in modern polar adventuring; and an afterword entitled 'The Boundaries of Light' by the best-selling author Hugh Brody. Does an explorer need to appear frostbitten and adventurous to be seen as heroic, and do we need faces like these to imagine their achievement? Sir John Franklin is the first. The sun is high. He adjusts his cocked hat, bound with black silk, and gathers up his telescope. He shifts uncomfortably in his chair, positioned on the deck of the stout ship Erebus, as she wallows at her moorings in the London docks. It is 1845. The photographer, Richard Beard, urges the explorer to stay still for just a moment longer. He removes the lens cap, he waits, another minute, and then swiftly slots it back in place. The first polar photographic portrait is secured. Other senior officers of the exploration ships Erebus and Terror had their photographs taken that day, optimistic and ever hopeful. They appear to us now as if frozen in time. So too they followed Sir John Franklin as he led them in search of a navigable northwest passage, into the maze of islands and straits which forms the Canadian Arctic. Mr Beard, at Franklin's request, supplied the expedition with a complete photographic apparatus, which was safely stowed aboard the well-stocked ship alongside other technological marvels: portable barrel-organs, tinned meat and soups, scientific equipment, the twenty-horse-power engines loaned from the Greenwich railway, and a library of over twelve hundred volumes. The camera now formed part of the kit thought essential to travel to the limits of the known world. Weighed down with stores, yet buoyant with Victorian confidence, the expedition sailed from the Thames on 19 May. The ships were last seen in late July, making their way northward in Baffin Bay, before vanishing without a trace…
This title is available in both hardback and soft-cover. It features placement: photography, exploration, travel. It contains 288 pages in full-colour, including images that have never before been published.
The South Pole was an awful place to be on 18 January 1912. Captain Scott and his four companions—Wilson, Bowers, Oates, and Evans—had just found that the Norwegian explorer Amundsen had beaten them to the prize one month earlier. The photograph that the men took that day speaks volumes for their achievement, of course, but there could be no truer record of their total disappointment. The men look absolutely broken; a photograph on top of everything else seems like a punishment. They are utterly devastated. A life's ambition has been snatched from their grasp. Now 800 miles from their base, they dragged themselves northward into the mouth of a raging blizzard. Their photographs and letters home, recovered with their bodies some time later, tell the sad tale of their sacrifice…

About the Author
AUTHOR DR HUW LEWIS-JONES is a historian and Curator of Art at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. Formerly Visiting Fellow at Harvard University, and Curator of Imperial and Maritime History at the National Maritime Museum, London, Huw is also Research Curator of the FREEZE FRAME historic photography project and a consultant within media and broadcasting.
PHOTOGRAPHER MARTIN HARTLEY specializes in documenting the most inaccessible parts of the planet. His commitment to capture the beauty of unadulterated landscapes and remote communities has taken him to some of the most challenging locations in the world. His work has been published in many major newspapers and magazines, including The Times, National Geographic. He has worked on 17 different polar expeditions.

(8 November 2008)

DEB: GEOGRAPHER, SCIENTIST, ANTARCTIC EXPLORER. A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANK DEBENHAM Peter Speak. Guildford: Polar Publishing in association with Scott Polar Research Institute, 7 June 2008. [129]pp. £12.99 softback; £25. ISBN: 978-0-9548003-1-4 soft-cover. ISBN: 978-0-9548003-2-1 hard-back. Web:
A quick look at this biography of Debenham has caused me to place it at the top of my stack of "to read" books, in part, because it includes a lot about the early planning and development of SPRI (which interests me as in a earlier life I was a campus planner).
More on the book soon.
—R. Stephenson
Frank Debenham—'Deb' to all who knew him—was one of the yougest members of Scott's Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1913. Largely overlooked by history, he was nevertheless at the heart of that great adventure, during which he had his own life-threatening experiences. He was destined to go on to far greater things, for which he was awarded both the OBE and the Polar Medal, and to make his mark indelibly on Cambridge history.
Originally from Australia, Deb worked in Cambridge writing up the Expedition's cartographic and survey reports and then more permanently as lecturer in geography. It is thanks to Deb's conviction that Cambridge University has today a designated Geography Department, and he applied that same passion to fulfilling Scott's wish for a centre for polar research. The now world-renowned Scott Polar Research Institute was founded in 1920, and Deb ensured its continued development through to his retirement in 1946.
This thoroughly researched account is supported by illuminating extracts of correspondence, interviews and personal communications, as well as numerous photographs and maps, some published here for the first time. Written in an engaging and accessible style, this book gives insight into the character of Deb, the caring and sensitive family man, and Deb, the geographer, scientist and Antarctic explorer.
His legacy lives on today, to the benefit of many.

The author:
Peter Speak, MA, M.Phil. (Cantab), FRGS, Emeritus Associate of Scott Polar Research Institute, was Head of the Geography Department at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, 1950-87. In 1983 he became Master of Philosophy in Polar Studies and then Director of the M.Phil. course, 1989-94, both at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. Peter has published several articles and is still active within the Polar academic community.
—From the book's cover.
Sadly, Peter Speak died not long after his book appeared.

List of Illustrations and Maps
Foreword by Professor Julian Dowdeswell
1. Australia to Cambridge via Antarctica
2. With Scott in the Antarctic
3. Geography and the University of Cambridge
4. A Centre for Polar Research
5. Deb's Legacy to Cambridge
Apendix: Publications of Frank Debenham
(8 November 2008)

NIMROD; THE JOURNAL OF THE ERNEST SHACKLETON AUTUMN SCHOOL edited by Seamus Taaffe. Athy: The Ernest Shackleton Autumn School Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Vol 2, October 2008. 147pp. Wrappers. €10. ISSN: 2009-0366. Copies may be obtained from the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Town Hall, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. E-mail for further details:

Launched at last year's 7th Annual Shackleton Autumn School, the second volume of Nimrod includes five articles and three book reviews:
'The Crew of S.Y. Endurance,' by John F. Mann.
'Antarctic Sites outside the Antarctic—Memorials, Statues, Houses, Graves and the Occasional Pub,' by Robert B. Stephenson.
'The 'Kildare' Shackleton Harness,' by Kevin Kenny.
'Conundrums in Arctic Sovereignty,' by Robert Headland.
'Biographical Dictionary of an Uninhabited Island,' David Tatham.
Ice Captain: The Life of J.R. Stenhouse, by Stephen Haddelsey. Reviewed by Paul Davies.
Arctic Hell-Ship: The Voyage of HMS Enterprise 1850-1855,' by William Barr. Reviewed by Joe O'Farrell.
Antarctic Destinies—Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism, by Stephanie Barczewski. Reviewed by Jim McAdam.
(8 November 2008)

SOUTHERN HORIZONS: THE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH ANTARCTIC TERRITORY Robert Burton. London: UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, 2008. 64pp. Softcover. Price: £10. ISBN: 978-0-95413-891-2. Web:
The book is sold at Port Lockroy or can be obtained by sending "a cheque payable for £10 to ANTARCTIC HERITAGE LIMITED, Kingcoed Farm, Usk, NP15 1DS, UK, or telephone 01291 690305 with your credit card details, or email to receive a Paypal invoice."

This slim volume is attractively produced and packed with a surprising amount of useful information given its size. Included are many images that I've never seen before.
—R. Stephenson
Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal
Help preserve the heritage of Antarctica
Probing southwards
Finding Antarctica
The sealers
Explorers of the Heroic Age
The Antarctic Peninsula confirmed
The whalers
Between the wars
Pioneer flights
Permanent occupation
Sledge dogs
From competition to co-operation
(8 November 2008)

WITH SCOTT IN THE ANTARCTIC. EDWARD WILSON, EXPLORER, NATURALIST, ARTIST. Isobel Williams. Stroud: The History Press, 2008. 320pp. £16. ISBN: 978-0-7509-4879-1. Web:

My copy of this long awaited biography of Dr Wilson arrived the other day. It gets added to the growing stack of books to be read.
—R. Stephenson

Edward Wilson (1872-1912) was Junior Surgeon and Vertebrate Zoologist on the British Antarctic Expedition of 1901-4 and Chief of Scientific Staff on Captain Scott's last ill-fated Antarctic expedition of 1910-12. The only officer with Scott, he formed a close and influential partnership with him and became his loyal confidant. He was part of the Southern Party with Shackleton and Scott on the 1901 expedition; they reached the furthest point south, and Scott named the Cape after Wilson.
—From the publisher's website.
Introduction (by Dr. Michael Stroud)
1. Early Years
2. Cambridge
3. Edward Wilson M.B.
4. Antarctic Recruit
5. England to Madeira
6. To the Polar Ice
7. Entering Antarctica
8. Furthest South
9. Paintings and Penguins
10. The Grouse Challenge
11. Terra Nova
12. The Winter Journey
13. Death in the Antarctic
Notes on Sources
Selected Bibliography
Isobel Williams e-mails to say that her biography of Wilson will be published next month. I believe this will be the first full biography of E.A. Wilson since Seaver's Edward Wilson of the Antarctic, Naturalist and Friend which appeared in 1933.
(22 August 2008)

UPDATE: The author e-mailed to say that " is on general release now (or at least any minute...)." notified me that the "estimated arrival date" is 10-25 November 2008. Another message from Amazon: The book has been sent.
(8 November 2008)

GRIFFITH TAYLOR: VISIONARY, ENVIRONMENTALIST, EXPLORER Carolyn Strange and Alison Bashford. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2008. 283pp. Softcover. A$39.95. ISBN: 978-0-642-27668-1. Web:
Well produced with many interesting illustrations. Lacks a bibliography.
Thomas Griffith Taylor (1880-1963) was a geographer, anthropologist and world explorer. His travels took him from Captain Scott's final expedition in Antarctica to every continent on earth, in a life that stretched from the Boer War to the Cold War. An Englishman by birth, Taylor spent much of his life in Australia, Canada and the United States where he established geography departments at the University of Sydney and the University of Toronto and also taught at the University of Chicago.
As a scientific secularist, he made it his life-long mission to enlighten the public on humankind's relation to the environment. Today's preoccupations with climate change, the ascendancy of Asian nations, and the renewed threat of nuclear war, were all addressed by 'Grif' Taylor. Often dismissed by his contemporary political and intellectual opponents as a pariah, many subsequent scientists and environmental advocates have come to regard him as something of a prophet. This timely biography by authors Carolyn Strange and Alison Bashford is a highly illustrated account and analysis of Griffith Taylor's remarkable life. It explores what drove this 'long, lean, lanky' man to such extremes: geographically, intellectually and politically.

Thomas Griffith Taylor (1880-1963) was a geographer, anthropologist and world explorer. His travels took him from Captain Scott's final expedition in Antarctica to every continent on earth, in a life that stretched from the Boer War to the Cold War. Taylor's research ranged from microscopic analysis of fossils to the 'races of man' and the geographic basis of global politics. This timely biography is a copiously illustrated account and analysis of Griffith Taylor's remarkable life. It explores what drove this 'long, lean, lanky' man to such extremes: geographically, intellectually and politically.
—From (which gives the book as "unavailable.")
Chapter 1: Favored Son
Chapter 2: The Furthest Frontier
Chapter 3: From Rocks to Race
Chapter 4: Prophet adn Pariah
Chapter 5: War and Peace
Chapter 6: Founding Father
List of Illustrations
(8 November 2008)
RACING WITH DEATH: DOUGLAS MAWSON – ANTARCTIC EXPLORER Beau Riffenburgh. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 18 August 2008. [298]pp. Hardcover. £18.99. ISBN-10: 0747580936. ISBN-13: 978-0747580935. Web:

A copy is on the way to me but for the moment here's a synopsis from
"The early twentieth century was the 'heroic age' of Antarctic exploration—a time when adventurers such as Scott and Shackleton were national icons who personified the contemporary ideal of manly struggle for the good of Empire. But, while these two are world famous to this day, Australian Douglas Mawson, whose Australasian Antarctic Expedition, undertaken in 1911 after Mawson had been a key member of Shackleton's Nimrod expedition, Edmund Hillary described as 'the greatest survival story in the history of exploration', is not. He should be, however. Mawson's expedition, undertaken on a small whaling ship called Aurora, combines several exceptionally exciting elements. Once in the Antarctic, the expedition split up into smaller parties exploring different areas. The two other members of Mawson's party died and Mawson was left to struggle hundreds of miles back to base on his own. Despite incredible odds, he made it, only to find that the rescue ship had sailed away, leaving him to face a year on his own in the Antarctic.
Mawson, who had complex relationships with both Scott and Shackleton, was changed utterly by his struggles in the Antarctic and his story is a fascinating insight into the human psyche under extreme stress."
"Beau Riffenburgh is an historian specialising in exploration, particularly that of the Antarctic, Arctic, and Africa. Born in California, he earned his doctorate at Cambridge University, following which he joined the staff at the Scott Polar Research Institute, where he is the editor of Polar Record. He is the author of the highly regarded Nimrod: Ernest Shackleton and the Extraordinary Story of the 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition and The Myth of the Explorer. He is currently serving as Editor of the Encyclopedia of the Antarctic. In Racing with Death, published by Bloomsbury in August 2008, Beau Riffenburgh rediscovers the almost forgotten story of Mawson—with Shackleton and Scott, one of the three 'greats' of Antarctic exploration."
Source: (some of these details are out-of-date)
1. Trespassers in a World of Ice
2. The Other Pole
3. Australasian Antarctic Expedition
4. The Only Available Place
5. Hurricane Force
6. Start the Sledging
7. A Far Eastern Tragedy
8. Racing with Death
9. Alone
10. Abandoned
11. The Long Wait
12. A Hero at War and Peace
13. Colouring Antarctica Red
14. Science of Politics?
15. A Final Visit
16. Antarctica from Australia
(17 August 2008)

ICE CAPTAIN: THE LIFE OF J.R. STENHOUSE by Stephen Haddelsey. Stroud: The History Press, 8 May 2008. 238pp. Hardcover. £20. ISBN-10: 0750943483. ISBN-13: 978-0750943482. Web:

"The first full biography of the naval Captain whose seamanship freed Shackleton's ship, Aurora, from the ice, and who rescued the marooned Ross Sea Party.
Much has been written on Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton. This is the story of the Endurance expedition's other hero, Joseph Russell Stenhouse (1887-1941) who, as Captain of the SS Aurora, freed the ship from pack ice and rescued the survivors of the Ross Sea shore party, deeds for which he was awarded the Polar Medal and the OBE. He was also recruited for special operations in the Arctic during the First World War, became involved in the Allied intervention in Revolutionary Russia, and was later appointed to command Captain Scott's Discovery. Stenhouse was one of the last men to qualify as a sea captain during the age of sail."
List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Author's Note
1. The Apprentice in Sail
2. South with Shackleton
3. Arrivals & Departures
4. Adrift in McMurdo Sound
5. Prisoners of the Pack
6. Aurora Redux
7. The Mystery Ships
8. War in the Arctic
9. The Syren Flotilla
10. Discovery
11. Oceans Deep
12. The Final Season
13. Pieces of Eight
14. Treasure Island to the Cap Pilar
15. Thames Patrol
16. With his Boots On
Notes and Sources
Select Bibliography
(17 August 2008)


"Ice Captain is a valuable addition to polar literature.... The Antarctic community owes a debt of gratitude to Stephen Haddelsey for bringing Stenhouse back to life, and doing it in such a thoroughly enjoyable manner" - Beau Riffenburgh, THE POLAR RECORD, April 2009

"A colourful, temperamental character who fell little short of greatness" - THE TIMES, 26 JULY 2008

"Tracking down interesting people from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration who haven't yet merited a full biography is a major challenge these days. The enduring interest in the age of men like Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton inevitably means that, a century later, few stones are left unturned. But Stephen Haddelsey has managed the feat with some style in the first-ever biography of the sailor Joseph Russell Stenhouse." - GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE, October 2008

"Readers pulled by Antarctica's magnetism will likewise be pulled in by Haddelsey's deft portrayal... the rich texture of his writing runs throughout... Drawing from a deep well of diaries, letters, notebooks, photographs and memoranda the author convincingly conjures up a forgotten soul from Antarctic exploration and beyond." - INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR, 30 September 2008


Stephen Haddelsey's next effort: "...I am now working on the first full biography of Commander Joseph Russell Stenhouse DSO, OBE etc: first officer and then commander of the Aurora on Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The book will cover not only Sten's Antarctic work-—on the Aurora and on the Discovery during the 1920s—but also his service as a Q-ship commander and in North Russia during WWI; his adventures in the US during prohibition; his treasure-hunting exploits; and many more. Already research is progressing well but, as always, I would welcome any information from your readers. The book is to be published by Sutton Publishing in 2007 (which will mark the 120th anniversary of Sten's birth)."

UPDATE: "Work on Ice Captain: The Life of J.R. Stenhouse is progressing well. I've been working my way through the mass of diaries, letters, etc., relating to Sten's non-Antarctic work, including his training in the merchant marine, service in North Russia and during WWII. Fascinating stuff."
—R. Stephenson
(23 January 2006)

UPDATE: "My biography of J.R. Stenhouse, Ice Captain, is progressing very well. Most recently, I have been researching his period in command of Scott's Discovery during the National Oceanographic Expedition of 1925-27. Some absolutely fascinating material has come to light, all of which I will be working into the book. The book will be published by Sutton Publishing Ltd in October 2007 or January 2008."
(15 April 2006)

UPDATE: "Ice Captain is due out in May this year [2008], but they've begun to advertise the book . . . I'm very pleased with the book, which I think is my best to date. Certainly Stenhouse's life was a veritable whirlwind of action, and fascinating to research and write about."
—From a recent e-mail from Stephen Haddelsey.
(14 January 2008)

The publisher will be Sutton Publishing an imprint of The History Press (which now includes Sutton). Amazon lists it as £20 and 256 pages. ISBN: 0750943483 and 978-0750943482. (Sutton's website, which is on the dustjacket, doesn't seem to be active and good luck getting any information from the The History Press website.)

Much has been written on Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton. This is the story of the Endurance expedition's other hero, Joseph Russell Stenhouse (1887-1941) who, as Captain of the SS Aurora, freed the ship from pack ice and rescued the survivors of the Ross Sea shore party, deeds for which he was awarded the Polar Medal and the OBE. He was also recruited for special operations in the Arctic during the First World War, became involved in the Allied intervention in Revolutionary Russia, and was later appointed to command Captain Scott's Discovery. Stenhouse was one of the last men to qualify as a sea captain during the age of sail.

UPDATE: When recently in England I inquired at more than one bookshop and Ice Captain was not to be found. I also just checked with and they do not have it. Perhaps publication has been delayed.
—R. Stephenson
(21 June 2008)

COURAGE SACRIFICE DEVOTION; THE HISTORY OF THE US NAVY ANTARCTIC VXE-6 SQUADRON 1955-99 by Noel Gillespie. W. Conshohocken, PA: Infinity Publishing, 2006. Revised edition (date?). Paperback, 519pp. $35.95. ISBN-10: 0741429128. ISBN-13: 978-0741429124

The revised edition is apparently now out, according to
"This revised second edition of Courage Sacrifice Devotion has new material spread though out the book, with 35 additional pages including six pages of Antarctic maps and 'cutaway' drawings of the Douglas R4-D's 'Gooney Bird' airplane. This new additional material was gleaned during my recent visit to Rhode Island to attend the Old Antarctic Explorers Association reunion. A truly remarkable story of endurance, bravery, so immersed in the demands placed on them by the US Navy—the Puckered Penguins, a group of men and women fighting the odds in the name of Antarctic exploration, carrying out their duties on the frozen continent with danger lurking everywhere. This epic story is an insight and challenging chronicle of their young lives flying aircraft on the world's harshest continent—yet their compassion for their mates will leaves readers stunned."
About the author: "The author is a part time free lance aviation writer in Christchurch, New Zealand and architectural design consultant and has been covering the US Navy's Antarctic operations since the late 1950's.His love for aviation and the Antarctic brought about the writing of this book about a select band of aviators on the frozen continent. His zest for life and his second marriage after 44 years to his late wife Shirley, to which he has three sons, at the age of 70 he enjoys life to the full and dabbled in water colour painting and various writing projects."

(17 August 2008)


This title is now in print but Noel Gillespie e-mails to say: "I have revised a second edition, adding over 50 pages of text and maps. At present it's with my publishers and should be on sale later in the year or early next year." Appearing below is information on the first edition:

"As a part time freelance aviation writer based in Christchurch New Zealand, I am privileged to be able to cover the United States Navy Deep Freeze air operations in Antarctica. In early 1999 I wrote an extensive historical history of VX-6 Squadron covering 1955-99, for a British historic aviation journal 'AIR Enthusiast'.

At this point, the idea to write a book of the renowned Squadron's illustrious history in Antarctica was conceived and encouraged by my late wife Shirley, along with many old OAE's. A book had to be written of their exploits in Antarctica, and their story had to be told as a chronicle of their achievements on the frozen continent, their sadness, their joys, their lifetime friendships, and the links they cemented with Christchurch.

Like early aviators who had only their wits and reflexes to bring their aircraft down safely, their planes were mere collages of wood, cloth and wire, difficult to control and so sensitive to air currents that even a moderate zephyr could knock them to the ground, while their engines were weak and unreliable, not dissimilar to those early VX-6 aviators, risking their lives, but unlike their early aviation pioneers, the Navy were not risking pride, fame and fortunes, their role was risking their lives to open up the frontier of science and Antarctic exploration.

While other books and publications have been written on Operation Deep Freeze, the part that the famous Air Development Squadron Six played in those 44 years, and the US Navy's role in Antarctica, I believe this is the first book written about the very men and women whose exploits could best be described as the last pioneers of aviation exploration. They were the Boy's Own flying ace heroes, the Biggles of the 20th century, or the Baron von Richthofen's, or the American's Eddie Rickenbacker of World War I 'Flying Circus'.

These young intrepid aviators of VX-6 were continuing the 'Heritage of Kitty Hawk' and their achievements are acknowledge with profound admiration, for their exploits and heroism in the finest traditions of the United States Naval aviation.

Of these OAE's, many of whom I never met, yet I have communicated with them over the past three years would consider them all, without exception, life time friends. I am indeed privileged to have known such a gathering of a bunch of talented and brave aviators who changed Antarctic aviation forever.

This is the story of their achievements flying with planes never manufactured to operate in such harsh climates, and recording their enormous contributions made writing this book possible. Their stories are spattered with humour, for humour was part of what life was on the ice. Their wit, using their tongue savagely at times or charmingly or seductively, was all part of life on the ice in their Jamesway huts. Laughter and seriousness, all happening at the same time, was one way of surviving the isolation and absent families. Beneath the banter there was a pride in what their mates had achieved, and in taking great pleasure in recounting these episodes at length over a long cool beer.

Some paid the ultimate price to advance the cause of science and Antarctic exploration, others have passed away to walk with the angels and catch up with old mates. Men like Eddie Frankiewicz, whose assistance in the writing of this book was immeasurable, although, I never meet Eddie, who passed away on May 9 2003, he still sent me original copies of valued personal, precious material, press cuttings and photos. 'Just copy what you want and post it back in your own time', he said. That was this man's enormous trust in me. Eddie generosity embodies hundreds of other OAE's, all of whom I treat as personal friends with a colourful treasure trove of Antarctic aviation knowledge, who without hesitation searched their minds and memories for me, exchanging e-mails on a regular basis.

To all these proud American men and women who have served their country in Antarctic, I have dedicated this book

This is a story of Courage-Sacrifice-Devotion, which just happens to be the Squadron's Motto. To them Christchurch, New Zealand was their second home for 44 years, and the camaraderie and overwhelming hospitality they received from the folk of Christchurch was two way, and the day the squadron said farewell to the city in February 1999 after their decommissioning, was indeed a sad day, but memories of their occupation will last in the hearts of New Zealanders for many years.

It would be impossible to acknowledge all those who have assisted in the writing of this book, as at times I felt inadequate to undertake such a project. I have taken every possible care to check and recheck all information. This is their story, told by the OAE's themselves, although contributions have come from many sources, every endeavour has been made, recognizing the fact that some stories related could vary a little or be coloured from the actual truth due to the intervening 50 years, but stories which still illustrate their comradeship in what must have been the most taxing and remote peacetime military operation in history.

I am grateful to the United States Navy, the US Naval News and all private collections for permission to publish all the photos herein as well as other material. To acknowledge everyone who contributed would be a volume in itself."

(2 December 2006)

THE DICTIONARY OF FALKLANDS BIOGRAPHY (INCLUDING SOUTH GEORGIA) FROM DISCOVERY UP TO 1981 edited by David Tatham. Ledbury: Published by the author. 576pp. Hardcover. £33; €42; $67. E-mail: Web:

David Tatham's major work has now appeared and although I have not seen a copy I've heard from various Antarcticans that it is excellent. One said: "I really like it—packed with information about people and lots of good history."
UPDATE: I picked up a copy in Athy at the 8th Shackleton Autumn School in October 2008.
A review of the book appears in the July 2008 issue of The James Caird Society Newsletter.

The effort's website——gives among other things the following information:
Order form with prices and postage (pdf)
Final List of Contributors
Alphabetical List of Subjects
Foreword (by the Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CH CBE PC)
Introduction (by David Tatham)
How to se the DFB
List of Contributors
List of Illustrations
The Dictionary in Alphabetical Order of Subjects
Annex A: Abbreviations and Acronyms
Annex B: Officeholders administering the Falkland Islands
Annex C: British. Spanish amd French military ranks
Annex D: Glossary
Annex E: Publications produced in the Falkland Islands
—R. Stephenson
(17 August 2008)


David Tatham spoke about his on-going project of editing a biographical dictionary focusing on the Falkland Islands—he was once Governor—at last fall's Shackleton Autumn School in Athy. Here are some details from the brochure that was handed out:

The Dictionary of Falklands Biography describes people concerned with the history of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia from the first discoverers in the sixteenth century up to the eve of the Falklands Conflict of 1982. Entries range from brief notes on lesser personalities to essays of 3,000 words on some of the leading figures.

The Dictionary includes great explorers like James Cook, Bougainville, Bellingshausen and Ernest Shackleton; political figures—ministers, a king, one saint, British, French, Argentine and Spanish governors; and naval commanders involved in heroic exploration and dramatic battles. Special interests include students of natural history and the environment, from Charles Darwin to recent ornithologists; geologists; farmers and agriculturalists; sailors, whalers and sealers; philatelists and a wide range of native Falkland Islanders from pillars of the community to the decidedly eccentric.

The Dictionary casts a fascinating light on the day-to-day life of a small British colony over 180 years, with its administrators, farmers, doctors, priests, merchants, naturalists and a fair crop of characters. Personalities who never visited the Islands, but impinged on their history, from St Malo and Samuel Johnson to assorted Argentine presidents, are also covered.

The Dictionary is illustrated, partly in colour, with many paintings and photographs, some from private collections, not previously published.

Over 480 names are included in the Dictionary, which is edited by a former governor of the Falkland Islands, David Tatham. The entries are written by 120 contributors, many of them the world experts on their subjects. Personalities who were active before 1981 and are still alive have written their own accounts of their lives. The biographies included shed new light on:
When it appears (the brochure says 'early 2008') it will be a fine addition to the genre.
Projected price: £35, £20 paperback.
For more information e-mail the Editor at

The project is described at although the site hasn't been updated for some time. (It was updated in April 2008.)
—R. Stephenson
(26 January 2008)

UPDATE: The project's website reports that it is due this month. I seem to recall that I was told earlier this month while in England that it is now available.
—R. Stephenson
(21 June 2008)

EXPLORER: THE LIFE OF RICHARD E. BYRD by Lisle A. Rose. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2008. 544pp. 32 black & white photo illustratons, 7 maps. £34.95. ISBN: 978-0-8262-1782-0.

I just received Lisle's new book the end of last week and haven't had a chance to dip into it. But it looks impressive based on the length, the notes and the 'blurbs.' More later.
—R. Stephenson
(23 MArch 2008)

List of Maps
1. "Danger Was All That Thrilled Him"
2. Reaching for the Sky
3. Breakthrough
4. Triumph
5. Hero
6. Celebrity
7. The Secret Land
8. Southward
9. Zenith
10. Politico
11. Jeopardy
12. Breakdown
13. Stumbling
14. Recovery
15. "Ever a Fighter So"
Notes (Pp 463-514)
Selected Bibliography (Pp 515-519)
   - Manuscript Sources
   - Oral History Collections
   - Unpublished Diaries, Recollections, and Papers
   - Published Diaries
   - Byrd's Own Writings
   - Critical and Laudatory Assessments of Byrd by His Colleagues
   - Secondary Writings about Byrd and His Expeditions

"Thoroughly researched, balanced in interpretation, and very readable, Lisle Rose's biography of Admiral Richard Byrd, the controversial but accomplished polar explorer and leader, will stand prominently in the literature of biography, American history, and polar exploration. It sets a very high standard for any future study of the man who was called "the Mayor of Antarctica." General readers will enjoy the book and scholars will need to cite it." —Raimund E. Goerler, editor of To the Pole: The Diary and Notebook of Richard E. Byrd

"Explorer is a superb modern biography of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd and his exploits in the coldest places on earth. Lisle Rose has captured Byrd's sense of adventure and egotism, chivalry and charlatanism, public hucksterism, and private power-brokering. Well-researched, superbly reasoned, and engagingly written, Explorer is an important addition to the literature of polar exploration." —Roger Launius, author of Frontiers of Space Exploration and editor of Innovation and the Development of Flight

"Rose has given us fascinating accounts of Byrd's early Arctic flying, the controversial North and South Pole flights, and the little remembered transatlantic flight of 1927. He has dug up a great amount of new information on the First and Second Byrd Antarctic Expeditions, as well as the U.S. Navy's Operation Deep Freeze in the late fifties. He tells the astounding story of Byrd's bizarre attempt to spend the Antarctic winter by himself, 123 miles south of Little America where his men fought among themselves, eventually launching a harrowing rescue of their stranded leader. All told, this remarkable book is the definitive biography of Richard E. Byrd." —John C. Behrendt, author of Innocents on the Ice: A Memoir of Antarctic Exploration, 1957 and The Ninth Circle: A Memoir of Life and Death in Antarctica, 19601962

"Danger was all that thrilled him," Dick Byrd's mother once remarked, and from his first pioneering aviation adventures in Greenland in 1925, through his daring flights to the top and bottom of the world and across the Atlantic, Richard E. Byrd dominated the American consciousness during the tumultuous decades between the world wars. He was revered more than Charles Lindbergh, deliberately exploiting the public's hunger for vicarious adventure. Yet some suspected him of being a poseur, and a handful reviled him as a charlatan who claimed great deeds he never really accomplished.

Then he overreached himself, foolishly choosing to endure a blizzard-lashed six-month polar night alone at an advance weather observation post more than one hundred long miles down a massive Antarctic ice shelf. His ordeal proved soul-shattering, his rescue one of the great epics of polar history. As his star began to wane, enemies grew bolder, and he struggled to maintain his popularity and political influence, while polar exploration became progressively bureaucratized and militarized. Yet he chose to return again and again to the beautiful, hateful, haunted secret land at the bottom of the earth, claiming, not without justification, that he was "Mayor of this place."

Lisle A. Rose has delved into Byrd's recently available papers together with those of his supporters and detractors to present the first complete, balanced biography of one of recent history's most dynamic figures. Explorer covers the breadth of Byrd's astonishing life, from the early days of naval aviation through his years of political activism to his final efforts to dominate Washington's growing interest in Antarctica. Rose recounts with particular care Byrd's two privately mounted South Polar expeditions, bringing to bear new research that adds considerable depth to what we already know. He offers views of Byrd's adventures that challenge earlier criticism of him—including the controversy over his claim to being the first to have flown over the North Pole in 1926—and shows that the critics' arguments do not always mesh with historical evidence.

Throughout this compelling narrative, Rose offers a balanced view of an ambitious individual who was willing to exaggerate but always adhered to his principlesa man with a vision of himself and the world that inspired others, who cultivated the rich and famous, and who used his notoriety to espouse causes such as world peace. Explorer paints a vivid picture of a brilliant but flawed egoist, offering the definitive biography of the man and armchair adventure of the highest order.

About the Author
Lisle A. Rose first went to Antarctica as a twenty-year-old seaman in 19561957. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1957 and in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 1978 to 1989. Besides serving as an expert commentator about Byrd for A&E's Biography series and PBS's American Experience, he is author of eleven previous books, including Assault on Eternity: Richard E. Byrd and the Exploration of Antarctica, 1946-47 and, most recently, Power at Sea: The Age of Navalism, 1890-1918, Power at Sea: The Breaking Storm, 1919-1945 and Power at Sea: A Violent Peace, 1946-2006. He is a member of the American Polar Society and lives in Edmonds, Washington.
—From the publisher's website

ANTARCTIC DESTINIES; SCOTT, SHACKLETON AND THE CHANGING FACE OF HEROISM by Stephanie Barczewski. (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007) 390pp. Nine black & white photographic illustrations. £25. ISBN: 978-1-84725-192-3. Web:
To be published in the US in 2008 by Hambledon Continuum on 17 February 2008 at $26.95. ISBN-13: 9781847251923.


This book focuses on the Antarctic explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton. As well as their most heroic expeditions, the author looks in detail at just how and why their individual reputations have evolved over the course of the last century.


This book covers the two most famous expeditions of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration: Robert Falcon Scotts Terra Nova expedition of 1910-12 and Ernest Shackletons Endurance expedition of 1914-16. It focuses not only on the two expeditions, but also on the ways in which the reputations of the men who led them have evolved over the course of the last century. For decades after Scott's tragic death on the return journey from the South Pole—to which he had been beaten by only five weeks—he was regarded as a saint-like figure with an unassailable reputation born from his heroic martyrdom in the frozen wastes of the Antarctic. In recent years, however, Scott has attracted some of the most intense criticism any explorer has ever received. Shackleton's reputation, meanwhile, has followed a reverse trajectory. Although his achievements were always appreciated, they were never celebrated with nearly the same degree of adulation that traditionally surrounded Scott. But in the final decades of the twentieth century Shackleton has come to be regarded as the beau ideal of the heroic explorer, a man capable of providing leadership lessons not only for other explorers but also for corporate executives and politicians. Today, Scott and Shackleton therefore occupy very different places in the polar pantheon than they once did. This change has come about with little new information about either man or the expeditions they led coming to light. Their actions and personalities, their virtues and flaws, have not changed. How, when and why attitudes towards Scott and Shackleton have altered over the course of the twentieth century forms the subject of this book. It explores how the evolution of their reputations has far more to do with broader cultural changes in Britain and the United States.

Stephanie Barczewski

A specialist in modern British cultural history, Stephanie Barczewski is Professor of History at Clemson University in South Carolina, where she has taught since 1996. In 2005 she became Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson. She is the author of numerous books, most recently Titanic: A Night Remembered.
— From the publisher's website
Table of Contents
1. Beginnings: Scott, Shackleton and Antarctic Exploration before the Heroic Age
2. First Steps: The Discovery Expedition and its Context, 1901-1904
3. Near Miss: The Nimrod Expedition, 1907-1909
4. Heroic Death: The Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-1912
5. Heroic Survival: The Endurance Expedition, 1914-1916
6. Finding Meaning; The Immediate Response to the Terra Nova and Endurance Expeditions
7. Death Makes the Hero: The Culture of the Great War and Conceptions of Heroism
8. Commemoration in Physical Form: Memorials to Scott and Shackleton, 1920-1960
9. Commemoration in Printed Form: Books about Scott and Shackleton, 1920-1960
10. Commemoration in Visual Form: Scott and Shackleton in Film and Art, 1920-1960
11. Changing Fortunes: Scott's Ebbing Reputation, 1960-1980
12. A Hero No More: Scott's Continued Decline, 1980-2000
13. A Hero at Last: Shackleton's Rise, 1990-2007
Notes (Pp 313-378)
This book has just arrived and I look forward to reading it as the subject (memorials and other 'low-latitude Antarctic sites') is a particular interest of mine. It would appear that this will be a good complement to Max Jones' The Last Great Quest: Captain Scott's Antarctic Sacrifice (see below).
—R. Stephenson
(17 February 2008)

NIMROD; THE JOURNAL OF THE ERNEST SHACKLETON AUTUMN SCHOOL edited by Seamus Taaffe. Athy: The Ernest Shackleton Autumn School Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Vol 1, October 2007. 110pp. Wrappers. €10. ISSN: 2009-0366. Copies may be obtained from the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Town Hall, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. E-mail for further details:

Launched at this past year's 7th Annual Shackleton Autumn School—this Antarctican's favorite annual gathering (see for a taste of the event—the Nimrod includes five articles and three book reviews:

'Shackleton at South Georgia,' by Robert Burton.
'The Origin & Development of the Antarctica Treaty System,' by Robert Headland.
'The Legacy of the Frozen Beards,' by Joe O'Farrell.
'Francis Leopold McClintock, Victorian Polar Explorer,' by David Murphy.
'The Shackletons & The Falklands,' by Jim McAdam.
Nimrod; Ernest Shackleton & the Extraordinary Story of the 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition, by Beau Riffenburgh. Reviewed by Aidan O'Sullivan.
Rejoice My Heart; The Making of H.R. Mill's 'The Life of Sir Ernest Shackleton,' by Michael Rosove. Reviewed by Seamus Taaffe.
The Lost Men, by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. Reviewed by Joe O'Farrell.
Appearing in the text is the occasional illustration of polar ephemera (advertisements) from the Editor's collection. Plans are for the Journal to appear annually and be available at the Autumn School.

(16 February 2008)

THE ROYAL NAVY IN POLAR EXPLORATION FROM FROBISHER TO ROSS by E.C. Coleman. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus, 2006. 352pp. Illustrated. Wrappers. £25. ISBN: 0-7524-3660-0.


THE ROYAL NAVY IN POLAR EXPLORATION. VOL. 2: FROM FRANKLIN TO SCOTT by E.C. Coleman. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus, 2007. 383pp. Illustrated. Wrappers. £25. ISBN: 0-7524-4207-4.

These two companion volumes (perhaps a third is yet to come) offer a new perspective to polar exploration and include much new interesting material.

1. By Royal Command
2. To the Edge of the Ice
3. Ice Blink
4. 'I have Determined to Remain in the Ship'
5. 'Every Hardship Fatigue and Hunger Could Inflict'
6. 'A Proud Sight for any Englishman'
7. 'No Common Men'
8. 'Great therefore was our Disappointment'
9. 'Motives as Disinterested as they are Englishtened'
10. 'Go and See!'
11. 'Today wasas Testerday, and so was Today, so will be Tomorrow'
12. 'Regions Far beyond what was ever Dreamed'

Not surprisingly more Arctic than Antarctic. Antarctic explorers: Edmund Halley, Cook and Ross.
"The need for polar exploration began in 1492 when, in his search for a new route to the treasures of the Orient, Columbus stumbled across a huge land barrier which was to prove so vast that it stretched from a stormy cape far to the south to an ice-gripped and mist-shrouded north.
By the sixteenth century, the Royal Navy—deployed as an arm of national policy, in order to gain access to new territories and open new passages in regions far beyond the routes of normal seafaring—had begun a series of assaults on the seemingly impregnable frozen Arctic fortress.
This first volume of The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration covers expeditions from the sixteenth century up to James Ross's 1842 voyage to the Antarctic. Within its covers are to be found the science ofHalley, the bravado of Byron, the iron will of Cook and the determination of Vancouver. The hair-raising overland travels of Hearn and Franklin are covered in detail as are the hazardous voyages ofBeechey, John and James Ross, Parry and 'the gallant Riou'.
This beautifully illustrated and informative book will be of interest to both the general reader and to the expert and researcher.
Ernest Coleman spent thirty-six years in the Royal Navy, undertook four Arctic expeditions, and twice visited the Antarctic. He is an established author who has frequently appeared in the media on the subject of polar exploration. He is a member of the Arctic Club of Great Britain and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society."
—From the back cover.

1. 'Better Fellows Never Breathed'
2. 'Not of Much Use'
3. 'At the Junction of Four Great Channels'
4. 'And no Despairing'
5. 'Everything Should be Done at Once'
6. 'Untiring Labour and Good Feeling'
7. 'Such a Man as Belcher is on the Track'
8. 'The Utmost Endurance and Most Zealous Energy'
9. 'Final, Decided, and Most Unmistakeable Orders'
10. 'One of the Most Capable and Enterprising Sailors'
11. 'True to the Instincts of Monopoly'
12. 'To Struggle Manfully for Life'
13. 'Death had been Staring Them in the Face'
14. 'Out Like a Rocket'
15. 'My Companions are Undeafeatable'
16. 'Death Lay Ahead and Food Behind'
17. 'With an Eye to Medals or Something'
18. 'Go Forward and do the Best for our Country'
19. 'Englishmen can still Die with a Bold Spirit'

Still more Arctic than Antarctic. Chapters 15-19 are devoted to British Antarctic exploration from the 'Southern Cross' through Scott. There are some illustrations that are quite unusual and new to me.
"With the stunning victories of the war against Napoleon behind it, the Royal Navy looked for gainful employment for its, now much reduced, fleet and for the men who served it. With the eager support and encouragement of John Barrow, the Second Secretary to the Admiralty, it was decided that there could be no better deployment of ships, men and materials than in the search for the North West Passage, the fabled northern route to the Orient, and the attainment of the highest latitudes—both north and south. Indeed, why not reach out for the very Poles themselves?
The search for the North West Passage took many lives, not least the entire crews of Franklin's Erebus and , and some of the men sent to find out what happened to the ill-fated expedition. Ernest Coleman's book tells the story of not just Franklin and his doomed expedition but also of the involvement of the Royal Navy in Polar exploration until Scott's Antarctic expedition of 1912.
Ernest Coleman is a retired Navy officer who has himself been on three polar expeditions. This second volume is a complement to the first, and is likely to become the definitive volume on the Navy's involvement in the exploration of the Poles."
—From the back cover.

(16 February 2008)

COOK, THE DISCOVERER by Georg Forster. Sydney: Hordern House for the Australian National Maritime Museum. 276pp. Two illustrations. Limited to 1,050 copies (One thousand copies are bound in quarter tan kangaroo with speckled papered sides in imitation of late eighteenth-century German bindings. A deluxe issue is limited to fifty copies, numbered and signed by Nigel Erskine, hand bound in full tan kangaroo and presented in a custome made slipcase.) AUD $325. ISBN: 9781875567492. Web:

The title page reads: "A new translation accompanying a facsimile of Cook, der Entdecker. Versuch eines Denkmals being a memoir of Captain Cook written by Georg Forster. First published in Berlin in 1787. With a foreword by Martin Lutz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Australia and an introductory essay by Nigel Erskine, Curator of Exploration at the Australian National Maritime Museum."

Foreword [7-8] pp
'After the Fall. Georg Forster and the Image of Captain Cook,' by Nigel Erskine. 11-39 pp
Cook, der Entdecker by Georg Forster. 41-148 pp
Translator's Note. 149-150 pp
Cook, the Discoverer An Attempted Memorial. 151-267 pp
Select Bibliography. 268-276pp. (A. Collected works of Georg Forster; and Works authored by Johann Georg Adam Forster; B. Selected edited works, introductions, translations; C. Johann Reinhold Forster; D. Secondary material.)
This is a beautifully produced volume as one would expect from Hordern House, a leading Australian rare book dealer and publisher. The production, printing, paper and binding are superb. Forster's work was the 'earliest serious biography and memoir of Captain James Cook' and is the 'only edition in English (although never out of print in German since its first publication in 1787).' Cook, der Entdecker appears in facsimile.

(6 October 2007)

THE FEROCIOUS SUMMER; PALMER'S PENGUINS AND THE WARMING OF ANTARCTICA by Meredith Hooper. (London: Profile Books Ltd., 2007) 299pp. 21 photographic illustrations and 2 maps in color plus 3 pages of black and white maps. £20. ISBN: 978-1-84668-008-3. Web:
To be published in Canada by Greystone Books, Vancouver, April 2008 at $29.95 CDN. ISBN: 978-1-55365-369-1.

"The Antarctic Peninsula is for all of us an early warning system. This brilliant book tells the story of Antarctic warming and of how scientists are piecing together the jigsaw of causes and impacts, here in particular through a study of the changing lives and habits of a group of Adélie penguins. To write this book Meredith Hooper worked with key scientists in bases, on ice breakers and in research vessels. Her story is very precisely located in time and space, focusing on the work and ideas of individual scientists and on the local animals. In it she memorably brings an outsiders non-specialist awareness to the crucial understanding of what is happening, now, to the planet we share."
—From the publisher's website

I haven't had a chance to do more than skim the book; but once I've read it I'll include some comments. I will say it's nice to have some good clear color photographic illustrations; too many Antarctic books today get by with muddy looking, poorly produced black and white photographs.
—R. Stephenson
(6 October 2007)

Introduction: News from the front line
1 Ice Age
2 Punta to Palmer
3 The life of a penguin
4 Remnant Eden
5 Seeing for myself
6 A field season from Hell
7 Penguin pebbles
8 Palmer Day
9 An absolute wake-up call
10 Light bulb moments
11 Collecting birds
12 Sunny day science
13 Giant petrels
14 Meat and two veg
15 A view from the predator's stomach
16 Dream Island
17 Boondoggle Day
18 The inner circle
19 The sound of extinction
20 The south islands
21 The year of reckoning
22 Crunches and crunched
23 Losing days
24 The weight of a fledgling
2 5 Not a standard day
26 South polar skuas and kelp gulls
27 A pair of legs, a pile of bones
28 Last island on the geep chick banding tour
29 Summer's end
30 Voyage home
31 What was happening?
32 Local becomes global
Notes and brief bibliography
List of Illustrations
Note on the Author
Previous mentions prior to publication:
Meredith e-mails to say:
The Ferocious Summer will now be published by Profile Books on 30 August, here in the UK, and in Australia and New Zealand; and in North America early next year. It is currently embargoed, as the Independent has bought pre-publication rights. I researched it during two summers at Palmer Station funded by the NSF Artists & Writers Program, then continued researching and writing while a Visiting Scholar in Cambridge, at Wolfson College, and SPRI. It is the book that I have been wanting to write ever since going to Antarctica in 1994, with the Australian Antarctic Division, as a writer. You may know that I have written perhaps nine books for children, and young people, about Antarctica -- ranging from picture books to a novel, to history and natural history. This new book is for the general adult reader. I am an historian by training. My aim in the book is to try and bring the world of scientists, and their thinking, their field work and their data gathering - to the understanding of all the rest of us, the non-scientists. But in truth my real subject is Antarctica.
The book is being launched at the Edinburgh Literary Festival. My North American publisher considers it a work of literature, as well as about science.
My next Antarctic book, again, general market, is about Antarctic history. The Ferocious Summer has been a great deal of work, but rightly so, given the subject.
"This brilliant book tells the story of a summer season in Antarctica through the eyes of Meredith Hooper, a writer and historian working with biologists at the US research station at Palmer. The theme is climate change and the central figure is biologist Bill Fraser, who has an unusual ability to see the world through the eyes of a penguin.

Antarctica's capacity to create, store and disperse ice is critical to the way our planet functions. But along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula there has been a 40% decrease in the mean annual sea ice extent since 1979. The daily lives of a few thousand Adlie penguins have become critical evidence of real, incontrovertible climate change.

To write this book Meredith Hooper worked with key scientists in bases, on ice breakers and in research vessels. Her story focuses on individual scientists as they research the local animal and plant life - Adelie and chinstrap penguins, giant petrels, skuas, blue-eyed shags, elephant seals, fur seals, fish, krill, phytoplankton.

Data from that 'ferocious summer' of 2001/2 has been analysed. The science is up to date to June 2007. There is consensus amongst the experts: 'The specifics of what is happening in the polar regions have global implications. Our planet is irrefutably warming. No doubts. And the speed of change'

The finished book will include 16 pages of colour photographs illustrating the Adlie penguins along with the other birds, plants and mammals on the peninsula and the ice in its many extraordinary guises.

Meredith Hooper is a trustee of the Brussels based International Polar Foundation, and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, and was awarded the Antarctica Service Medal by the US National Science Foundation in 2000. Her writing ranges from award-winning non-fiction books for all ages, to academic articles. During the last fifteen years, selected as a writer on United States and Australian Antarctic programmes, she has specialised in writing about the history, geology and wildlife of Antarctica. An Australian who arrived in the UK on a scholarship to continue her post-graduate studies in history, she stayed, and now lives in London."
— From a Profile Books press release.
(30 July 2007)

REJOICE MY HEART: THE MAKING OF H.R. MILL'S "THE LIFE OF SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON"; THE PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE OF DR. HUGH ROBERT MILL AND LADY SHACKLETON, 1922-33 Preface by the Honourable Alexandra Shackleton. Introduction by T. H. Baughman, Ph.D. Editor's Note by Michael H. Rosove. Produced in cooperation with the Scott Polar Research Institute. Santa Monica, California: Adélie Books, 2007. 142pp. 6 color and black and white illustrations. $34.95. £18.95. ISBN 978-0-9705386-2-8.

The third title of Michael Rosove's Adélie Books has now been issued. Michael reports that nearly one fifth of the 500 press run has gone out the door. Here are some details. (Once I read it again—I read a late draft—I'll add some more comment.)
Preface—Emily Mary Shackleton: Wife of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Alexandra Shackleton. (vii-viii))
Introduction—Hugh Robert Mill: Friend to Heroes. T.H. Baughman. (viii-xvii)
Editor's Note, Michael H. Rosove. (xvii-xxi)
Correspondence (1-119)
Extracts from Press Reviews (121-133)
Bibliography (135-136)
Index (137-142)
The correspondence that is the feature of this book starts with a letter from Emily Shackleton to H.R. Mill on April 18, 1922. The last letter between them is dated March 2, 1933. In all I count 96 letters to Mill, 28 from Mill, one from Emily to Mrs Mill, five from the publisher to Emily and two miscellaneous documents.

Unlike the previous two Adélie titles (see elsewhere in this section), Rejoice my Heart is more conventional in its format and production.
"On 18 April 1922, a little over three months after Sir Ernest Shackleton's death, Hugh Robert Mill accepted Lady Shackleton's invitation to write Sir Ernest's biography. She responded, "Your kind letter rejoiced my heart." Dr. Mill and Lady Shackleton then embarked on a fast-paced project that would launch the first Shackleton biography a mere twelve months after its inception. Their motivation was a mutual commitment to erecting a monument to Sir Ernest's memory. They communicated mostly by the post and thus left a trail of their creative process, to the delight of posterity. Their correspondence reveals facts about Sir Ernest, his family, and associates not found in the published works. It also reveals to us the personalities and sensibilities of Dr. Mill and Lady Shackleton. The Honourable Alexandra Shackleton provides new morsels about Lady Shackleton, her grandmother. Dr. Baughman has written an informative biographical synopsis of Dr. Mill. Dr. Rosove provides background on the correspondence and the editions of the biography and has annotated the correspondence. Devotees of Sir Ernest and Dr. Mill will find particular pleasure in this book. Half the proceeds from sales will benefit the William Mills Library Acquisitions Fund of the Scott Polar Research Institute."
Source: Blurb from the publisher
—R. Stephenson
(30 July 2007)

I did a review of this book for the 'Polar Record.'
—R. Stephenson

FOOTSTEPS ON THE ICE; THE ANTARCTIC DIARIES OF STUART D. PAINE, SECOND BYRD EXPEDITION edited with an Introduction by M.L. Paine (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007) 368 pp., $34.95. ISBN: 978-0-8262-1741-7.
Merlyn Paine, the daughter of Stuart Paine, has been working on this presentation of her father's diaries for several years now, so it is a pleasure to finally see the results. Rai Goerler's 10-page Foreword—Stuart Paine, Admiral Richard Byrd and the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition—is excellent. The three-page Preface tells a bit about the Paine family, how Paine ended up going to the Antarctic and gives a description of the three-volume diaries that are the basis of this book. (Advice to diarists: keep your diaries out of damp garages!) Also, a few words about the Barrier Bull, which I didn't know about until Merlyn, at a recent symposium at Ohio State, talked about this expeditionary newspaper that her father initiated. Merlyn's three-page Introduction is a summary description of the Second Byrd Expedition. Coming next from page 7 to page 276 is Paine's three-volume transcribed diary interspersed with numerous black and white photographs, facsimiles, maps, etc. The photographs are not reproduced very well (dark and not particularly crisp), but this seems to be the rule today in book production and not the exception. Nonetheless, many of them appear for the first time, so they are valuable on that score alone.
One of the first illustrations I focused on was the opening page of the diary. As I read the transcription on the preceding page, I thought it odd that 'Station Island' appeared on one line and 'Staten Island' on the next. Looking at the actual page, it's clearly written as 'Staten' in both instances. Let's hope this this was a fluke and not representative of the transcription. (I will have to say that I've yet to read the diary portion of the book, only paged through it. It goes on the 'to read pile' right now.)
Merlyn's five-page Afterword deftly summarizes Paine's achievements in the Antarctic and goes on to tell of his later years and early death at age 50.
For me, the most interesting section of the book is Appendix 4 which is made up of representative selections from each of the eight issues of the Barrier Bull which Paine started up as "the only internal magazine compiled within Little America during the expedition." (Researchers should take note that there is a complete run in the Special Collections at the University of New Hampshire Library.) These selections make up 36 pages of the book and as far as I know constitute the closest thing to a full reprinting that's appeared so far.
Merlyn deserves credit for toiling so thoroughly and lovingly to bring her father's story to print.
—R. Stephenson
(3 June 2007)
"In 1933 Antarctica was essentially unexplored. Admiral Richard Byrd launched his Second Expedition to chart the southernmost continent, primarily relying on the muscle power of dog teams and their drivers who skied or ran beside the loaded sledges as they traveled. The life-threatening challenges of moving glaciers, invisible crevasses, and horrific storms compounded the difficulties of isolation, darkness, and the unimaginable cold that defined the men's lives.

Stuart Paine was a dog driver, radio operator, and navigator on the fifty-six-man expedition, the bold and complex venture that is now famous for Byrd's dramatic rescue from Bolling Advance Weather Base located 115 miles inland. Paine's diaries represent the only published contemporary account written by a member of the Second Expedition. They reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the contentiousness surrounding the planned winter rescue of Byrd and offer unprecedented insights into the expedition's internal dynamics.

Equally riveting is Paine's breathtaking narrative of the fall and summer field operations as the field parties depended on their own resources in the face of interminable uncertainty and peril. Undertaking the longest and most hazardous sledging journey of the expedition, Paine guided the first American party from the edge of the Ross Sea more than seven hundred miles up the Ross Ice Shelf and the massive Thorne (Scott) Glacier to approach the South Pole. He and two other men skied more than fourteen hundred miles in eighty-eight days to explore and map part of Antarctica for the first time.

Footsteps on the Ice reveals the daily struggles, extreme personalities, and the matter-of-fact bravery of early explorers who are now fading into history. Detailing the men's frustrations, annoyances, and questioning of their leader, Paine's entries provide rare insight into how Byrd conducted his expeditions. Paine exposes the stresses of living under the snow in Little America during the four-month-long winter night, trapped in dim, crowded huts and black tunnels, while the men uneasily mulled over their leader's isolation at Advance Base. The fates of Paine's dogs, which provided some of his most difficult and rewarding experiences, are also described his relationship with Jack, his lead dog, is an entrancing story in itself.

Featuring previously unpublished photographs and illustrations, Footsteps on the Ice documents the period in Antarctic exploration that bridged the "heroic era" and the modern age of mechanized travel. Depicting almost incomprehensible mental and physical duress and unhesitating courage, Paine's tale is one of the most compelling stories in polar history, surpassing other accounts with its immediacy and adventure as it captures the majesty and mystery of the untouched Antarctic.

M.L. Paine, the daughter of Stuart Paine, is an independent researcher who resides in Nevada and Alaska."

—From the dustjacket.


Foreword by Raimund E. Goerler
Introduction by M.L. Paine

1. Chinook Kennels: September 27-November 2, 1933
2. At Sea: November 3-December 9, 1933
3. The Roaring Forties and South: December 13, 1933-January 16, 1934
4. Misery Trail: January 24-February 28, 1934
5. Journey of "Seven Hells": March 1-31, 1934
6. Little America: April 1-22, 1934
7. The Old Mess Hall: April 25-June 10, 1934
8. The Deep Winter Night: June 15-July 17, 1934
9. The Admiral and Summer Field Preparations: July 20-October 15, 1934
10. The Start of the Southern Journey: October 16-November 20, 1934
11. In Select Company: November 21-December 5, 1934
12. Mount Weaver: December 6, 1934-January 11, 1935
13. Homeward: January 13-May 12, 1935
Afterword by M.L. Paine

1. The Men of the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition
2. "What Is It Like to Travel at Seventy-five below Zero?" by Dr. Thomas C. Poulter
3. Fall Southern Trip Meteorological and Navigating Records
4. Barrier Bull Selections May 19, 1934, Issue 1 May 26, 1934, Issue 2 June 2, 1934, Issue 3 June 9, 1934, Issue 4 June 16, 1934, Issue 5 June 23, 1934, Issue 6 June 30, 1934, Issue 7 July 7, 1934, Issue 8
5. Logistics Planning from Mile 173 to Mile 445.5, Thorne Glacier, and Return to Little America
6. Navigation and Triangulation Reports: Summer Journey to the Queen Maud Range

Stuart D. Paine, 1933
Paine's Antarctic Diaries
The First Page of the Diaries: September 27, 1933
Letter Inviting Paine to Join the Expedition
Olin Stancliff and Ed Moody by the Jacob Ruppert
The Dog Drivers at Boston Harbor
Finn Ronne and Members of the Dog Department
Alton Wade and Other Drivers
Dick Russell
Alan Innes-Taylor
Dogs on the Jacob Ruppert
The Neptune Ceremony for the Dog Drivers
Haircuts aboard the Jacob Ruppert
Exploring Easter Island
The Family at Christmas
The Workboat Attending the Condor
Paine on Deck with Seals
Diary Page: Byrd Expedition Stamps
Unloading the Jacob Ruppert
Pressure Ridge Camp
A Loaded Sledge
The Team before the Pressure
Dick Black on a Pressure Ridge
Unloading the Bear of Oakland
Jack the Giant Killer, Paine's Lead Dog
Paine's Team in Dog Town
Little America and the Cow Tent
Perkins in the Hatch
The "Place of Absolute Safety"
Paine with a Frozen Seal
Jack's Team by the Seal Pile
The Fall Journey South
The Tractor Party at 50 Mile Depot
Paine, Buck, and Break-it at 50 Mile Depot
Building a Depot
Supplying a Depot
Mile 155, the Turnaround Point
Digging the Fuel Tunnel for Admiral Byrd
Admiral Byrd at Advance Base
Diary Page: The Admiral and a Base Diagram
Byrd to Poulter Memorandum Forbidding Winter Rescue
View of Little America
A Meal in the New Mess Hall
Personnel of the Winter Party, "Little America Times"
Torches and Lanterns Lighting the Dog Tunnel
Paine at the Entrance of the Dog Tunnels
Coniac and Rowdy
Charlie Murphy of CBS
Chopping Frozen Seals
Young and Bowlin in Their Bunks
"My Bunk"
Covers of the Barrier Bull
The Barrier Bull: Charles J. V. Murphy on Admiral Byrd
The Barrier Bull: Editorial by Stuart D. Paine and Richard S. Russell
The Library
Notice from Dr. Poulter to the Men on Alcohol and Exercise
Paine and Jack in the Seal Chopping House
"The Stinking Trio" in Blubberheim
Stancliff Making Pemmican
The Tractor Party's First Attempt
Digging Out the Pilgrim
The Dog Drivers Meeting
Putting Up Field Rations
Testing the Condor's Engines
Diary Page: "No Feeling of Hesitation . . ."
The Geological Party Packing
Seven Teams Getting Ready
A Rest on the Trail
Hill's Tractor in a Crevasse
The Loaded Trailer by the Crevasse
Blackburn's Sledges down a Crevasse
Mountain Base before the Queen Maud Range
Stuart Paine in a Tent
Dick Russell
Quin Blackburn
Mountains Soar 14,000 Feet High
On Supporting Party Mountain, the Last Mapped Feature
The Note in the Caim: From the First Byrd Expedition
The Note in the Cairn: From the Second Expedition
Paine Replaces the Oatmeal Can in the Cairn
Mount Weaver and the Eighteen Remaining Dogs
A Fossilized Tree Trunk
The Dogs in the Wind
The Summit of Mount Weaver, in Sight of the South Pole
Paine and Blackburn Celebrating
Quin Blackburn Triangulating
Stuart Paine and Mount Katherine Paine
Stuart D. Paine in Harkness Amphitheater
Jack the Giant Killer in Harkness Amphitheater
Dick Russell and Lichens, the Southernmost Life Ever Found
Thorne Glacier Sweeping the Base of a Mountain
Paine at the Radio
Barrier Sailing
The Condor and 75 Mile Depot
The Geological Party after Skiing 1,410 Statute Miles
Loading the Bear of Oakland at the Bight
Jack's Team by the Jacob Ruppert
The Bear Wending North through the Ice
The Jacob Ruppert from the Bear
A Storm Aboard the Bear
Homeward: Touring New Zealand
Paine with Standard!
Admiral Richard E. Byrd Descending from the Bear
President Franklin D. Roosevelt Welcoming the Expedition
National Geographic Society Ceremonies at Constitution Hall
The Last Page of the Diaries: May 12, 1935
Paine and Jack at the Farm
Special Congressional Antarctic Medal (Front)
Diary pages: Fall Southern Trip Meteorological Record
Diary page: Fall Navigation Record—Example
Diary pages: Logistics Planning
Trail Parties' Reorganization at Mile 173 and Eventual
Return to Little America
Supporting Party from Mile 293 to Little America
Geological Party at Mile 175
Supplies at Mile 293
Planning from Mile 445.5 to Polar Plateau
Navigation Report of the Queen Maud Geological Party, Paine to Byrd
Thorne Glacier Triangulation Report—Example
Letter from Commander Saunders, USN, to Paine Regarding Thorne Glacier Field Observations
The Authorized Map of the Second Byrd Expedition
Map of the Ships' Movements
Map of the Bay of Whales, Inset of Antarctica
Sketch of "Misery Trail"
Diary Page: Sketch of Advance Base
Map of the Fall Journey South, Inset of Trail Markings
"Rough Plan of Little America"
Map of Thorne Glacier with Triangulation Stations
Map of 1934 Summer Field Explorations


From recent e-mails from Merlyn Paine (The Antarctic Diaries of Stuart D. Paine, BAE II, 1933-35} : "...began working on publishing my father's diaries from the 2nd Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Stuart Paine was a member of the Dog Department, and drove dogs and navigated the Fall Southern Sledging Party, and was the navigator, lead dog driver and radio operator for the summer Queen Maud Mountains Geological Party, the first Americans on the ground to go so close to the South Pole. The winter experience was equally intense in different ways, including stress within Little America and the controversial rescue effort of Admiral Byrd from Bolling Advance Base. While the book is an adventure story full of hardship and challenges, it is equally about the descriptions, the reflections and the values of a young man experiencing a unique period in history. Work on the manuscript is progressing well."
(11 April 2004)

UPDATE: Merlyn Paine writes to say:

"I'd like to update you on the forthcoming publication of my father's Second Byrd Expedition Antarctic Diaries . . . Footsteps on the Ice: The Antarctic Diaries of Stuart D. Paine, Second Byrd Expedition is being published by the University of Missouri Press and will be available in June of 2007.
In 1933 when the Antarctic was essentially unexplored, Stuart Paine was a dog driver, radio operator, and navigator on the fifty-six man expedition which ended the "Heroic Era" and provided a bridge to the "Mechanical Age" of Antarctic exploration. Paine guided the first American party from the edge of the Ross Sea more than seven hundred miles up the Ross Ice Shelf and the massive and previously unexplored Thorne Glacier (now Scott Glacier) to the approach the South Pole. Paine's diaries represent the only published contemporary account written from the inside of the Second Expedition and offer unique insights into the Byrd expedition. With Paine's words and his previously unpublished photographs and illustrations, Footsteps on the Ice is one of the most compelling stories in polar history."
—From an e-mail
(31 January 2007)
UPDATE: Merlyn was at the recent APS gathering at the Byrd Polar Research Center in Ohio and reported that her biography of her father will be out in June 2007.
(2 May 2007)

REPRESENTATIONS OF ANTARCTICA—A BIBLIOGRAPHY. Not a book but a website about books. Have a look at
This is what the introduction on the home page has to say:
"This bibliography was compiled as part of an ongoing study of textual representations of Antarctica by Dr Elizabeth Leane, Lecturer, School of English, Journalism and European Languages, University of Tasmania. The construction of the bibliography, undertaken by Dr Leane and Stephanie Pfennigwerth (Research Assistant to Dr Leane), was supported by an Institutional Research Grant from the University of Tasmania.

The primary aim of the bibliography is to provide a research resource for scholars in the humanities interested in representations of Antarctica, particularly literary representations. Only texts which have, in the admittedly subjective opinion of the compilers, substantial Antarctic material are included. The bibliography covers texts written in English or translated into English. Where a qualifying remark is required, this is given in underneath the relevant entry. The MLA citation system has been employed throughout the bibliography.

The bibliography is divided into seven separate sections covering material relating to Antarctica within a variety of literary genres, and an addition section listing literary and cultural criticism relating to Antarctica:
Fiction, 1950- (Adult)
Fiction, 1750-1950 (Adult)
Fiction (Juvenile)
Short Stories
Films and Television Programmes
Literary and Cultural Criticism
The material covered within each of the eight sections is outlined at the beginning of that section. The relatively lengthy bibliography of adult fiction relating to the Antarctic has been been divided into two sections, one covering fiction published before 1950, the other covering fiction published in or since 1950. No period limits apply to any of the other sections."
(11 March 2007)

NOTE: Also don't miss Fauno Cordes's extensive bibliography of Antarctic fiction—Tekeli-li—elsewhere on this site at

DEEP FREEZE; THE UNITED STATES, THE INTERNATIONAL GEOPHYSICAL YEAR, AND THE ORIGINS OF ANTARCTICA'S AGE OF SCIENCE by Dian Olson Belanger (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2006) 494 pp., $29.95. ISBN: 978-0-87081-830-1.

A serious, thorough and useful treatment of Deep Freeze.

"In Deep Freeze, Dian Olson Belanger tells the story of the pioneers who built viable communities, made vital scientific discoveries, and established Antarctica as a continent dedicated to peace and the pursuit of science, decades after the first explorers planted flags in the ice.

In the tense 1950s, even as the world was locked in the Cold War, U.S. scientists, maintained by the Navy's Operation Deep Freeze, came together in Antarctica with counterparts from eleven other countries to participate in the International Geophysical Year (IGY). On July 1, 1957, they began systematic, simultaneous scientific observations of the south-polar ice and atmosphere. Their collaborative success over eighteen months inspired the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which formalized their peaceful pursuit of scientific knowledge. Still building on the achievements of the individuals and distrustful nations thrown together by the IGY from mutually wary military, scientific, and political cultures, science prospers today and peace endures.

The year 2007 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the IGY and the commencement of a new International Polar Year—a compelling moment to review what a singular enterprise accomplished in a troubled time. Belanger draws from interviews, diaries, memoirs, and official records to weave together the first thorough study of the dawn of Antarctica's scientific age. Deep Freeze offers absorbing reading for those who have ventured onto Antarctic ice and those who dream of it, as well as historians, scientists, and policy makers.

About the Author: Historian Dian Olson Belanger is the author of Enabling American Innovation (Purdue University Press, 1998) and Managing American Wildlife (University of Massachusetts Press, 1988).

Reviews and Comments:
"Dian Belanger has written an exciting and thought-provoking account of the U.S. Navy Seabees, flyers, and scientists who lived through and made the transition from the 'heroic' age to the 'scientific' age of Antarctic exploration. These mostly young men (no women were allowed on 'the Ice') risked lives and endured both cold and dark Antarctic winters and unimaginable isolation from the world to provide a U.S. presence on the vast, remote, ice-covered continent. Deep Freeze, based on countless interviews and painstaking research, is a timely and gripping account."
—John C. Behrendt, president of the American Polar Society and author of The Ninth Circle and Innocents on the Ice

"With its well-timed arrival on the eve of the International Polar Year 2007-2008, Deep Freeze, offers a welcome and thorough new examination of America's involvement in Antarctica during the IGY, often told through the words of the participants themselves."
—Jeff Rubin, author of Lonely Planet Antarctica

"An excellent historical chronology of the United States Antarctic Program and the first establishment of permanent scientific research facilities on the continent of Antarctica. Those who brought this program to life are heroes by every definition of the word. The truly amazing stories of pioneers are chronicled in this detailed and entertaining read. Dian Belanger's countless hours interviewing living heroes who accomplished Herculean tasks give us pause to remember where this all began."
—Jerry W. Marty, National Science Foundation Representative, South Pole Station, Antarctica

"With the fifty-year anniversary of the International Geophysical Year approaching, the author has done a remarkable job in researching the IGY through archival materials and interviews with some of the major individuals involved. Writing for a wide audience, she offers in-depth discussions of U.S. preparations for stations, their construction, scientific research, winterover experiences, and the formulation of the Antarctic Treaty, the glue that holds it all together."
—John Splettstoesser, Advisor to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators

"The story of the beginning of Operation Deep Freeze has finally been told by a dynamic writer and historian."
—RMC Billy-Ace Penguin Baker, USN (retired), Vice Chairman, Antarctic Deep Freeze Association

"Deep Freeze provides a wealth of hitherto unreported history. The use of oral history accounts, diary-based material, and quotations from literature of the era is a particular strength in this major recapturing of the heady days of 1957-59. Very little comprehensive historical scholarship has been devoted to IGY since the popular preliminary accounts that appeared (by Dufek, Sullivan, Wilson, Chapman, Eklund and Beckman, etc.) in the late 1950s and early 1960s."
—Peter-Noel Webb, geologist for U.S. and New Zealand IGY expeditions and Trans-Antarctic Expedition

"In Deep Freeze, Dian Belanger has written an important book, fine and well-researched, focusing on the IGY in Antarctica (1957-1958), which led to the Antarctic Treaty."
—J. Merton England, NSF historian (retired) and author of A Patron for Pure Science

"This is a comprehensive and lively book about the people and events that transformed Antarctica into an international laboratory for science. Through their vision, courage, and willingness to work together, the people of Deep Freeze and the IGY brought about a legacy of discovery that continues today and that helps us to understand both Antarctica and the forces of global change. To tell this fascinating and important story, Dian Belanger not only used existing historical records but also added to that documentation with extensive interviews."
—Raimund E. Goerler, Chief Archivist/Byrd Polar Research Center of The Ohio State University

"Dian Belanger's account of the historical development of the early infrastructure for the American Antarctic science operation is superb. Compellingly told, the book incorporates significant research from new sources and unused collections. A must read for anyone with an interest in Antarctica and the early science it provided."
—George T. Mazuzan, NSF historian (retired)

"Dian Belanger's Deep Freeze, presents science in Antarctica with fascinating perspective, present and past, all rewarding. Well documented."
—Dick Bowers, CDR CEC USN (retired), Officer in charge of construction, McMurdo and Pole Stations, Deep Freeze I and II"

--From University Press of Colorado website

List of Maps and Figures
List of Illustrations
List of Terms and Abbreviations
Preface and Acknowledgements
Prologue: The Call of the Ice
1. The International Geophysical Year: Idea to Reality
2. All Hands on Deck: Logistics for the High Latitudes
3. Gaining a Foothold: Operations Base at McMurdo Sound
4. Little America V: Science Flagship on the Ice Shelf
5. Marie Byrd Land: Crevasse Junction, Privation Station
6. South Pole: Dropped From the Sky
7. The Gap Stations: Hallett, Wilkes, and Ellsworth
8. On the Eve: People, Preparations, Policies
9. Comprehending the Cold: Antarctic Weather Quest
10. Looking Up: The Physics of the Atmosphere
11. Under Foot: Ice by the Mile
12. Life on the Ice: The Experience
Epilogue: Science and Peace, Continuity and Change
Notes on Sources
--R. Stephenson
(2 December 2006)

CAPTAIN FRANCIS CROZIER; LAST MAN STANDING? by Michael Smith. (Cork: The Collins Press, 2006) 242 pp., €23.95/£17.99. ISBN: 1-905172-09-5.

I was given a copy of Michael's Crozier biography while visiting Ireland in November, 2006. It's on the "to read" stack, but for the moment here's some information:

"Irishman Francis Crozier from Banbridge, County Down was a major figure in 19th-century polar exploration. His voyages with Parry, Ross and Franklin lifted the veil from the frozen wastes of the Arctic and Antarctic, paving the way for Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. A failed romance drove him back to the ice one fatal last time with Franklin's North-West Passage expedition in 1845. All 129 men perished. Crozier took command after Franklin died. He led a courageous battle in the freezing Arctic wilderness trying to bring his men to safety. According to legend, he was the last to die—the last man standing"
--From The Collins Press website

List of Illustrations & Maps
Introduction: A Modest, Unassuming Man
1. A Bond with History
2. To the Arctic
3. Seizing the Moment
4. A Promise
5. Fatal Errors
6. Wreck of the Fury
7. North Pole Trek
8. Arctic Rescue
9. South
10. Flirting with Love
11. An Epic Voyage
12. Dangerous Waters
13. Trembling Hands
14. 'I Am Not Equal to the Hardship'
15. A Sense of Tragedy
16. The North West Passage
17. Ice
18. 'No Cause for Alarm'
19. Breakout
20. A Slow Execution
21. Last Man Standing?
22. The Unsolved Mystery Endures
23. A Fitting Memorial
Appendix: Francis Crozier: A Chronology
--R. Stephenson
(2 December 2006)

TOM CREAN; AN ILLUSTRATED LIFE by Michael Smith. (Cork: The Collins Press, 2006) 200 pp., €30/£22.95. ISBN: 1-905172-18-4.

I saw this in Ireland but decided to order it from home which I've just done. Once it arrives, I'll update this entry.

"This pictorial biography celebrates the life of Tom Crean, a great Irish hero of Antarctic exploration. His adventures on the ice are captured in photographs taken under the most difficult conditions. These are now assembled for the first time with other previously unseen pictures. The photographs illustrate his early life, the incredible feats in the Antarctic and a peaceful retirement in Kerry. Supported by complementary text, diary extracts and maps plus new information on Tom Crean's life, this is a lasting celebration of a true hero."
--From The Collins Press website
--R. Stephenson
(2 December 2006)

ROALD AMUNDSEN by Tor Bomann-Larsen. Foreword by Pen Hadow. Translated by Ingrid Christophersen. (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2006) 384 pp., £20. ISBN: 0-7509-4343-2.

This was published in Norway in 1995 as Roald Amundsen; en biografi. The English translation is a welcomed addition to the literature as little has appeared on Amundsen over the years. Once I read it I'll add more.

"Roald Amundsen is the only full biography of the Polar explorer to be published in English. It uncovers the life of the determined, pugnacious pioneer using vivid first hand accounts, as well as material from recently discovered documents. This is a dramatic, humorous and adventurous story which reveals the true flawed character behind the facade of the benign hero.

TOR BOMANN-LARSEN is an author and artist. His books include The Court Physician, and a biography of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud."
--From the Sutton Publishing website

List of Illustrations & Maps
Foreword by Pen Hadow
Preface: Roald Amundsen Country

PART ONE: The Dream of the North West Passage
1. The Boy from the Sea
2. The Student of Polar Exploration
3. The Ice Chest
4. First Night in the Antarctic
5. The Two-pronged Plan
6. The Governor
7. The Flag Triumphs
8. A Big Man

PART TWO: The Gamble for the South Pole
9. The King's Ship
10. Polar Bears as Draught Animals
11. Pulling the Wool over the World's Eyes
12. The Coup
13. A Business Trip
14. The Capitalist
15. A Heroic Deed
16. The Dance round the South Pole
17. Fridtjof Nansen has his Say
18. History is being Written

PART THREE: Caught in the North East Passage 19. The Road to London
20. The Goddess of Bliss
21. An Ultimatum
22. The Big Promise
23. A Polar Explorer Plays the Mandolin
24. Black Animals
25. The Royal Yacht
26. In the Embrace of the Ice
27. Ring-billed Gulls
28. Kakonita Amundsen

PART FOUR: In Pursuit of the North Pole
29. The Flying Dutchman
30. Engelbregt Gravning
31. A Beauty from Alaska
32. Columbus of the Air
33. A Criminal Outlook
34. The Journey to Drøbak
35. The Millionaire's Son
36. Beloved above All in the World
37. In the Kingdom of the Dead
38. The Resurrection

PART FIVE: The Lost Continent
39. Thanks to Mussolini
40. The Managing Director
41. Norwegians in Rome
42. Nobile's Dog
43. Nationalists at the Ramparts
44. Literary Suicide
45. Break with the World

PART SIX: Flight across the Pole
46. Internal Exile
47. Knight of the Ice
48. The Bride Who Disappeared
49. The Triumph of Defeat
50. Two Minutes' Silence


--R. Stephenson
(2 December 2006)

SOUTH OF SIXTY; LIFE ON AN ANTARCTIC BASE by Michael Warr. (Prince George, BC: Antarctic Memories Publishing, 2005) 164 pp., $24.95, US$21.95. Wrappers. ISBN: 978-0-9738504-0-6 / 0-9738504-0-X. Available from Antarctic Memories Publishing, 2640 Ewert Crescent, Pr. George, BC V2M 2S2, Canada. E-mail: Web:

The author spent two years as a BAS meteorologist at Deception Island (1964) and Adelaide Island (1965) and returned in 2005 aboard the 'Polar Star.'

Some Antarctic Terms
1. Antarctic Beginnings
2. Voyage South
3. South American Indulgences
4. The Falkland Islands
5. South Georgia, and More Falklands
6. Finally, the Antarctic
7. Our Deception Island Home
8. Antarctic Huskies
9. Adjusting to Antarctic Life
10. Some Summer Activities
11. Visitors
12. Deception Wildlife
13. Baily Head Residents
14. Weather
15. Fids in Winter
16. Eating ...
17. ... and Drinking
18. Argentinean Hospitality
19. Winter Breaks
20. A Dark Spring
21. More Socializing and a Reprieve
22. Icy Antarctica
Photo Section [8 pages, color photos]
23. Base Life
24. The Huns
25. Real Sledging
26. Adelaide Diversions
27. Keeping up Morale
28. Not a Cold Winter
29. Sledging Further
30. Academics, Atmosphere, and Animal Power
31. Spring, and Flying
32. Deaths in Antarctica
33. Adelaide Island Events
34. Base Life Comes to a Stop
35. Five Weeks of No Sailing
36. A Slow Boat to Southampton
37. You Can Return
38. Marguerite Bay Bases
39. Southern Isles
40. One Antarctic Ending
      South of Sixty
      Deception Island
      Marguerite Bay

"Living in the Antarctic in the 1960's was not for the faint of heart. The few men on each base lived in small wooden huts, heated by coal stoves. Water was from melted snow blocks, and travel over the frozen terrain was with husky dog teams.

The men made their own entertainment. They also had to get on with each other, as they were isolated for eight months at a time until the relief ship could get through the ice. The experience left an indelible memory on all who lived in the Antarctic.

'South of Sixty,' describes this life, and contrasts it with the changes of present-day Antarctica.

Michael was born and grew up in Britain. He joined the British Antarctic Survey. After two years in the Antarctic he then moved to Canada, married Norma, and taught secondary school in central British Columbia. Now retired, he runs marathons, writes, and gardens. He belongs to The British Antarctic Survey Club, and the American Polar Society."
--From the Antarctic Memories website

--R. Stephenson
(26 August 2006)

THE SHORE WHALING STATIONS AT SOUTH GEORGIA: A STUDY IN ANTARCTIC ARCHAEOLOGY by Bjørn L. Basberg (Oslo: Novus Forlag, 2004) 226 pp., NOK 298, Euro 37.30. ISBN: 82-7099-394-8. Web:

This significant book probably provides the typical Antarctican with more information than he will ever need on the subject of the shore-based whaling at South Georgia. It's filled with both historic and modern photographs, color and black and white. Numerous maps and detailed plans abound.

Preface & Acknowledgements


Industrial archaeology at South Georgia
      Field surveys
Industrial archaeology and whaling
      Industrial archaeology - an overview
      Archaeology of whaling sites

Antarctic whaling and South Georgia
      Before whaling
      In search of new whaling grounds - from north to south
      Creating an industry
      Heydays - and the pelagic challenge
      The long decline of South Georgia whaling
South Georgia in the post whaling era
      Scientific research station and fishing grounds
      Military base
      Tourist destination
      From scrap to industrial heritage

Industrial plants and landscapes
      The layout and design of the South Georgia whaling stations
      Leith Harbour
      Husvik Harbour
      Stromness Harbour
      Prince Olav Harbour
      Ocean Harbour
      Was there a "typical" South Georgia whaling shore station?
      Building methods and architecture
      The industrial landscape of South Georgia
      Whaling stations in other areas - South Georgia compared

      The whaling station production process - an overview
      The vessels
      The flensing platform
      The blubber cookery
      The meat cookery
      The bone cookery
      Ancillary functions in the cookeries
      Separator and recovery plants
      Oil storage tanks
      The whale meal ("guano") plant and store
      The meat extract plant
      The refrigeration plant
      The laboratory
      Transport systems
      Mechanization - how far?
      Oil or meal?

Power supply
      The boiler house
      The electric power station
      Hydro-electric plants and dams

      The engineering workshop
      The blacksmith shop
      The foundry
      The plating shop
      The welding shop
      The plumber's shop
      The tinsmith's shop
      The carpenter's shop
      The cooper's shop
      The tailor's, sail-maker's and upholsterer's shops
      The electrician's shop
      The radio, radar and ASDIC shops
      The ship repair yard - a plant within the plant

Living quarters
      The villa
      Separate and individual bedrooms
      The bath house
      The laundry

Food and catering
      Kitchen and messes
      Provisions stores
      The slop chest
      The butcher's shop
      The bakery
      The pigsty
      The henhouse
      The coffee-roasting house
      The greenhouse

Recreational facilities
      The cinema
      The library
      Common rooms
      The soccer field
      The ski jump

Other Functions
      Defense installations
      The church and cemeteries


APPENDIX I: Survey methods and techniques
APPENDIX II: Reports and publications from the project
APPENDIX III: Employment categories
APPENDIX IV: Grytviken, general map and index
APPENDIX V: Leith Harbour, general map and index
APPENDIX VI: Husvik Harbour, general map and index
APPENDIX VII: Stromness Harbour, general map and index
APPENDIX VIII: Prince Olav Harbour, general map and index
APPENDIX IX: Ocean Harbour, general map and index



"This book brings together two rather esoteric topics: whaling and industrial archaeology. The focus is on the remains of the shore whaling stations on South Georgia in the Southern Ocean - a centre of Antarctic whaling for the first half of the 20th century. Being left to deteriorate primarily through natural processes, most of the whaling stations still, decades after business closed, have an authenticity that few industrial remains in more populated areas of the world can offer.
The book reviews a research project on the industrial archaeology on South Georgia and places the project in a wider context. It reviews the history of South Georgia from the early discoveries, the sealing industry of the 19th century, the whaling industry of the 20th century and the development afterwards, when the attitude towards the former whaling stations gradually shifted from being seen as mere scrap to being considered cultural heritage.
The main part of the book describes and analyses how the whaling stations were designed and operated. The emphasis is on the main functions and functional relationships: the processing plant, the power supply, workshops, accommodation and recreational facilities."
--From the book jacket and publisher's website.

--R. Stephenson
(26 August 2006)

WHITE HORIZONS: BRITISH ART FROM ANTARCTICA, 1775-2006 by David W.H. Walton and Bruce Pearson. (British Antarctic Survey for the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting XXIX, 2006) 54 pp., £5. Available from the shop at the Scott Polar Research Institute (

This handsome, very cleanly designed publication is an offspring of an exhibition curated by the Walton and Pearson that was staged for the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting XXIX held in and around Edinburgh in 2006. It begins with a four-page introduction followed by chapters entitled: "Landscape and Discovery," "Scientists as Artists," "Conserving the Antarctic Natural Heritage,"Antarctic People" (Cook, Ross, Scott, Burn Murdoch, Shackleton, Fuchs, etc.), "Expedition Life" and "Artist Biographies." Many but by no means all of the works featured are from the modern era and many of these are the product of the British artists and writers program. Indeed, all the artists that have participated in this British Antarctic Survey/Arts Council of England program are included.

I counted a total of 64 images, mostly in color. Among the artists whose work appears: John Davis, Edward Wilson, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Edward Seago, David Smith, Philip Hughes, John Kelly, Layla Curtis, Robert Nicholls, Richard M. Laws, Neil Mackintosh, Gordon Fogg, Sir Alister Hardy, Rolfe Gunther, Sandra Chapman, Keith Shackleton, Chris Rose, Bruce Pearson, John Gale, George Forster, John Webber, Henry Pickersgill, W.G. Burn Murdoch, Dennis Lillie, Reginald Grenville Eaves, L.D. Carmichael, Kite, Frank Debenham, Simon Faithfull and William Martin. Very useful biographies of nearly all of these appear in the concluding chapter.

Any Antarctic collector with an interest in the art of the southern continent will want to have this excellent publication.

--R. Stephenson
(26 August 2006)

FRANK HURLEY: A PHOTOGRAPHER'S LIFE by Alasdair McGregor. (Australia: Penguin/Viking, 2004) 416 pp., A$65. ISBN: 067088895. Web:

This is a lovely production, heavy and substantial, reminding me in looks and layout to Caroline Alexander's 'Endurance.' Of course, they both feature Hurley photographs which may be part of the reason. This is a biography and so there's lots here that has nothing to do with the Antarctic. It also means that it will be interesting reading that may very well shed light on Hurley's Antarctic days. I look forward to starting on page one.

Introduction 'Near enough is not good enough' Chapter One. The Boy from Glebe Chapter Two Postcards from Sydney
Chapter Three 'I determined to...get the Doctor entirely to myself'
Chapter Four '...a kind of photographic ecstasy'
Chapter Five 'Blizzardia hoylei'
Chapter Six 'Mr Hurley already feels the Antarctic calling to him again...'
Chapter Seven ' of Life by the fathom'
Chapter Eight Boat journeys
Chapter Nine From white warfare to Flanders' red fields
Chapter Ten 'The exaggerated machinations of hell...'
Chapter Eleven 'It would be a man's bad luck to be killed here...'
Chapter Twelve A night at the opera
Chapter Thirteen '...they quite chortle like Adelies'
Chapter Fourteen 'Pearls and Savages'
Chapter Fifteen The canoe that could fly
Chapter Sixteen 'The Lost Tribe;
Chapter Seventeen '"Three musketeers" in lounge suits'
Chapter Eighteen '...nothing but a cinema show'
Chapter Nineteen 'Siege of the South'
Chapter Twenty Strike me lucky?
Chapter Twenty-one '...just the sort of battle Hollywood might stage'
Chapter Twenty-two '...don't be too brave. The coves don't appreciate it'
Chapter Twenty-three A land traversed
Chapter Postscript '...the naked soul of man
Notes on Measurements
Extended Notes on Illustrations
Notes on the Hurley Visual Archive
--R. Stephenson
(21 May 2006)

"Frank Hurley was once a household name in Australia. Now most famous for his photographs of the Mawson and Shackleton (Endurance) Antarctic expeditions, he was also a visual chronicler of many of the major events of the twentieth century and of a rapidly disappearing non-Western world. He was an official photographer in two world wars, a pioneering documentary-maker, participant in early feats of aviation, and cinematographer on major Australian feature films of the 1930s, including The Squatter's Daughter and The Silence of Dean Maitland. In his later years, he travelled the length and breadth of his country to produce illustrated books that eulogised Australia and its people.

In this comprehensive new biography, with over 100 photographs including never-before-published Hurley images and other rarely seen material from the family archive and Hurley's lesser-known adventures, Alasdair McGregor vividly describes the character, achievements and disappointments of a driven and remarkable Australian."
--From the book jacket.

About the Author: Painter, photographer and one-time architect, Alasdair McGregor is the author of The Kimberley: Horizons of Stone, Australia's Wild Islands (both with Quentin Chester) and Mawson's Huts: An Antarctic Expedition Journal. He was artist and photographer for three AAP Mawson's Huts Foundation expeditions to Antarctica, and in 2000 was curator (for the Australian High Commission to Canada) of ' . . . that sweep of splendour': A Century of Australians in Antarctica, a travelling exhibition featuring the photography of Frank Hurley. Alasdair McGregor lives in Sydney.


The book has only been issued in Australia. Here's what Alaisdair has to say about availability in a recent e-mail: "Availability outside Australia has been a bit of a sore point. The book will be on sale in Britain soon . . . At present the book is only available by mail order outside Australia. Its available that way through a number of the major booksellers here. Just put the title into Google and a number of them come up. Alternatively for anyone wanting a signed copy, I can supply them for $A59 + $A35 post (airmail) and handling--$72 US. I found this opportunity proved quite popular over the past couple of years when lecturing on Antarctic cruise ships." He can be contacted at:

THE LOST MEN; THE HARROWING SAGA OF SHACKLETON'S ROSS SEA PARTY by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. (New York: Viking, 2006.) 366pp. 28 black & white photographic illustrations, 9 maps, plans and other illustrations. $25.95. ISBN: 0-670-03412-6. Web: and

Kelly Tyler-Lewis' 'The Lost Men' has now appeared and has received quite a bit of positive attention in the press. It now goes on my pile of 'books to read.' One will want to compare it to McElrea and Harrowfield's 'Polar Castaways' which appeared in 2004; hard for me to do as I haven't read that one yet, either. The notes and bibliography are both lengthy, which I always feel is a good sign. Most of the photos are new to me. The quality isn't particularly good but then many were taken in difficult circumstances.

List of Maps and Illustrations
The Ross Sea Party of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17 [Listing of the names and positions of the Shore Party and the Aurora's Officers and Crew.]
The Ross Sea Relief Expedition, 1916-17 [Listing of the names and positions of those on the relief expedition.]
1. "That Restless Spirit"
2. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition
3. Aurora
4. Southing
5. The Great Barrier
6. Eighty Degrees South
7. Hut Point
8. "An Ideal Place in a Blizzard"
9. Marooned
10. Return to the Barrier
11. Mount Hope
12. "Homeward Bound"
13. "Some Way or Other They're Lost"
14. "Drifting to God Knows Where"
15. "Whereabout Shackleton?"
16. Port Chalmers
17. Rescue
18. "The Men That Don't Fit In"
Epilogue" "The Brotherhood of Men Who Know the South"
Appendix" Units of Measurement
--R. Stephenson
(21 May 2006)

"In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set forth to make history with the first-ever crossing of the Antarctic continent from coast to coast. On the eve of the First World War, Shackleton sailed south into the Weddell Sea aboard the Endurance, while a ship called the Aurora made for the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the continent. Under the command of Æneas Mackintosh, the twenty-eight man Ross Sea party mobilized to build a lifeline of vital food and fuel depots to supply Shackleton's epic 1,700-mile crossing. 'This programme would involve some heavy sledging, but the ground to be covered was familiar and I had not anticipated that the work would present any great difficulties,' Shackleton wrote.

Yet all went tragically wrong when the Aurora broke free of her moorings in a gale and stranded ten men ashore in Antarctica, woefully ill-equipped to perform their task. Left with little more than the clothing on their backs and scavenged equipment, the men vowed to carry on in the face of impossible odds. Meanwhile, the crew of the disabled Aurora, cast adrift at the mercy of civilization, the lost men struggled to save themselves and carry out their mission.

Researched in Antarctica, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, The Lost Men is the definitive account of this long overshadowed expedition. Kelly Tyler-Lewis throws Antarctic exploration into new perspective as the unforgettable protagonists of the Ross Sea party come alive in this astonishing chronicle of unsung heroism."

The book's a number of reviews.


Kelly recently e-mailed with the following update:

"My book about the Ross Sea Party, The Lost Men (working title), will be published by Viking in hardcover and Penguin in paperback in the US; Bloomsbury in hardcover and paperback in the UK and Commonwealth countries. Simon & Schuster is publishing the audiobook version worldwide. The project is based upon archival research in four countries, interviews, and field research in Antarctica (and parts north!).

I am a Senior Member of Wolfson College of Cambridge University and a Visiting Scholar at Scott Polar Research Institute. I received a National Science Foundation fellowship in 2002, and spent two months in the Ross Sea region. I am also a Consulting Historian for the British Film Institute.

I am also a documentary filmmaker. For the two-hour film, "Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance," airing on the PBS series NOVA in 2002 and 2003 (entirely different from the IMAX), I was producer & writer, along with my producing partner Sarah Holt. The film was awarded an Emmy for Best Historical Documentary and was nominated for Best Documentary of 2002.

For the IMAX film, "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure," I was a member of the production team. I was Coordinating Producer."

--R. Stephenson
(28 January 2004)

UPDATE: I saw Kelly last night and she says the book will be out later this year.
--R. Stephenson
(22 May 2005)

UPDATE: "My book, THE LOST MEN, has been scheduled for publication by Viking and will be available in stores in the US on April 24; it is available for pre-order on,, and many independent bookstore sites. The book will also be published by Bloomsbury in Australia and New Zealand, where it will be available in May, and Great Britain, where the publication date is September 4."
--From a recent e-mail from Kelly.
(4 February 2006)

Kelly also sent along a review that appeared this week in Publishers Weekly:

"While the story of Ernest Shackleton's crew of the Endurance is well known, the fate of Shackleton's Ross Sea support party has largely been forgotten until now. Charged with laying supply depots for Shackleton's aborted 1914-1916 trans-Antarctic trek, the Ross Sea party became stranded when its ship tore free of her moorings and disappeared in a gale. Cambridge historian Tyler-Lewis's account of the 10-man party's plight relies heavily on the men's journals, which are amazingly detailed, considering the physical (snow blindness, scurvy, frostbite) and mental (depression, paranoia) problems they faced. The men's decision to lay the depots despite the obstacles demonstrates their courage, but Tyler-Lewis's narrative doesn't focus solely on heroics. Instead, the heart of the book lies in Tyler-Lewis's dissection of the men's relationships with one another. As friends are made, alliances formed and resentment festers, humanity is never lost, even amid inhumane conditions. Given the collection of military, civilian, scientific and blue-collar personnel that made up the expedition, it's compelling to see how each man deals with his fate. Add in the party's adventures of sledding in subzero temperatures with the sociological aspects of being stranded for nearly two years in such an inhospitable place, and the result is a gripping work. Maps, illus. (Apr. 24) © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

THE S.S. TERRA NOVA (1884-1943) FROM THE ARCTIC TO THE ANTARCTIC, WHALER, SEALER AND POLAR EXPLORATION SHIP by Michael C. Tarver. (Brixham, Devon: Pendragon Maritime Publications, 2006.) 256 pp., 160 illustrations. £30. ISBN: 0-9552208-0-7. Pendragon Maritime Publications, Hillhead, Brixham, Devon TQ5 0EZ, UK. E-mail:

This is a magnificent resource and shows the extensive work that Mike put into the effort over many years. It will make a good shelfmate for Ann Savours' The Voyages of the Discovery.
--R. Stephenson
2 December 2006

Mike Tarver has been working on this extensive treatment of the Terra Nova for some years. It looks very hefty and impressive (I only briefly had a copy; it was injured in shipment and back it went. When I have a new copy I'll add some more information.)
--R. Stephenson
21 May 2006

"This extensively researched book is the definitive account of one of the classic polar exploration ships of the 'heroic age'. Published in a large format (280mm x 210mm or 11"x 8-1/4", with 256 pages liberally illustrated with over 160 monochrome illustrations - many photographs appear in print for the first time.

A story of one of Britain's most famous expedition ships put together from accounts recorded by men who sailed in her. It covers the sixty year history of a ship built by a famous Scottish shipbuilding yard for the 19th century days of whaling and sealing before coal, gas and electricity replaced animal oils in domestic and commercial use. Terra Nova operated from her home ports of Dundee and afterwards, St. John's, Newfoundland, when a sea-going career in the seal fishery in those times brought a hard way of life with many human losses and tragedies.

The late nineteenth century saw increased activity toward exploration of the polar regions north and south and the suitability of the sturdy Dundee whalers saw them seconded from seal fishing and drawn into the 'heroic age' of polar exploration. This was the period associated with the expeditions of Scott, Shackleton, Mawson, Bruce, Amundsen and explorers from many other nations who used wooden ships to enter unknown regions in pursuit of territorial advancement and science.

The comprehensive Appendix contains details of the company that built Terra Nova and many other ships; modifications and crew personnel for polar exploration; men who commanded her throughout 60 years; a directory to both polar regions and a list of similar ships launched in that era, with their fates. All supported by a full bibliography and index.

For most of her 60-year life, Terra Nova had a colourful career operating from the Port of St. John's, Newfoundland and was leader of the fleet known as the 'wooden walls' which went to the Arctic ice each Spring with large crews in pursuit of the seal fishery.

Terra Nova a large and powerful steam whaler was seconded from the seal fishery in Newfoundland as relief ship for the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 and for the United States Fiala-Ziegler Arctic Expedition, 1903-1905. Her most famous role was for three years as the expedition ship for the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, RN."
--From a publicity flyer.


Author's Note


The British whaling industry and its ships
Shipyard of Alexander Stephen & Sons, Dundee
Launch of the S.S. Terra Nova and her early years
Ambitions and achievements of Benjamin Bowring and his family
The founding of a shipping and trading company
'Terra Australis Incognita'
Relief ship for British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901
Under Dundee command again and first mission to Antarctica
Under United States ownership and Norwegian command
Rescue mission to an Arctic archipelago
Return from a successful Arctic mission
Newfoundland for sealing duties
Expedition ship for the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910
Fitting out in West India Dock, London
Preparations and British departure from Cardiff
Around the world to Lyttelton, New Zealand
Final preparation and departure from Port Chalmers, New Zealand
A storm in the 'furious fifties'
Through the pack ice into the Ross Sea
Arrival at McMurdo Sound and a change of command
Expedition base established, scientific parties deployed
A surprise in the Bay of Whales
Scientific parties landed and return to New Zealand
Summary of expedition relief voyages
First return voyage to New Zealand - 'the pumps again'
Winter cruise and survey work
McMurdo Sound - relief and attempt relief of scientific parties
Second return voyage to New Zealand and more survey duties
Another refit in New Zealand and a tragedy at Admiralty Bay
Last passage to Antarctica
Cape Evans and the tragic news
Final departure. Goodbye Antarctica, return to New Zealand
The passage to Britain
Return to expedition home port
Summary of expedition programme
Report on biological work aboard Extract from report 'Outfit & Preparation'
30 years with the 'wooden-walls'
Rendering assistance at a maritime disaster
Portrait of a legendary sealing master
A first hand experience of The Greatest Hunt in the World
Refit and role as a coastal trader
On charter during War-time
Ice damage to the stern
The last voyage and an S.O.S. call
Memories and recollections
Research and more recollections
A. Ships built at Dundee by Alexander Stephen & Sons 1844-1893

B. Descriptionand specification of S.S. Terra Nova preparede by Commander H.L.L. Pennell, RN, Surgeon Commander E.L. Atkinson RN adn Leading Shipwright F.E.C. Davies, RN

C. Extract from the Log of United States Coastguard Cutter Atak

D. Chronological list and biographical details of Captains of S.S. Terra Nova 1884-1943

E. Terra Nova crew list Antarctic Relief Voyage 1903-1904

F. Terra Nova crew list Arctic Relief Voyage 1905

G. Terra Nova crew list and shore parties British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913

H. Summarised directory to the Arctic and Antarctic regions

I. Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd 1750-1970 The family line of Shipbuilders and a brief history of the Company

J. Bowring Brothers Ltd Profit & Loss Accounts Balance Sheet 1943

K. Some sealing phrases and expressions

L. Miscellaneous list of whalers and sealers launched and their fates

M. Bibliography and references



Mike Tarver e-mailed to say: "I am writing book on long overdue history of the S.S. 'Terra Nova'. Have been researching for 10 years, hope to draw a line under it and publish late 2005." [Mike Tarver spoke on the Terra Nova at the SPRI lecture series on 15 November 2003.]
(24 October 2004)

UPDATE: I saw Mike at SPRI on 13 November 2004 and the book progresses. Autumn 2005 is still his hope.
--R. Stephenson
(22 November 2004)

UPDATE: I saw Mike at SPRI on 12 November 2005. A year goes by but the book is done, a publisher's on board, and it's only a matter of time before the book hits the High Street.
--R. Stephenson
(29 November 2005)

A VISITOR'S GUIDE TO SOUTH GEORGIA by Sally Poncet and Kim Crosbie. (Old Basing, Hampshire, UK: WildGuides, 2005.) 179pp. Numerous photo illustrations, mostly in color, maps and other illustrations. Spiral binding, card covers. £17.95. ISBN: 1-903657-08-3. Web:

A concise, useful and very well designed guide. Likely to be of greatest interest to the visitor are the site descriptions. These are each 3 or 4 pages and include longitude and latitude, Derivation of the Name, Features (summary), Pointers (summary), Location and Main Features, Landform and Habitat, Wildlife, Human History, Visiting the Site. Included as well are a location map and a detailed map of the site. Overall an excellent resource that should be taken on any trip to South Georgia.
--R. Stephenson

A Message from Howard Pearce
Foreword. By Keith Shackleton
About this Guide
Tips for Visitors
Natural History of South Georgia

Oceans and Climate. By Mark Brandon
Geology. By Phil Stone
Glaciers and Landforms. By John Gordon
Vegetation. By Jenny Scott
Introduced Species
A Brief History of South Georgia
The Discovery of South Georgia. By Robert Burton
The Sealers. By Robert Burton
The Explorers. By Robert Burton
Carl Anton Larsen and the Whaling Industry. By Robert Burton
The Discovery Investigations. By Robert Burton
Duncan Carse and the South Georgia Surveys 1951-57. By Robert Burton
Establishing British Antarctic Survey Research. By David Walton
South Georgia, A Diplomacy Case. By R.K. Headland
Current Activities
Government Administration. By Sarah Lurcock
Tourism. By Denise Landau and John Splettstoesser
South Georgia Fisheries. By David Agnew
Fisheries Research at King Edward Point. By Mark Belchier
Seabird and Seal Research at Bird Island. By John Croxall
Longline Fisheries and Seabirds. By Graham Robertson
The Approach to South Georgia
Key Information
Wandering Albatrosses. By Richard A. Phillips
Burrowing Petrels
Life at Leith Harbour
Southern Elephant Seals. By Martin Biuw
King Penguins. By Klemens Pütz
Fur Seals. By Callan Duck
The Sites
Prion Island
Salisbury Plain
Prince Olav Harbour
Fortuna Bay
Hercules Bay
Leith Harbour
Shackleton Hike
Stromness Harbour
Jason Harbour
Grytviken & King Edward Point
Cobblers Cove
Ocean Harbour
St. Andrews Bay
Moltke Harbour
Will Point & Brisbane Point
Gold Harbour
Cooper Bay
Drygalski Fjord & Larsen Harbour
King Haakon Bay
Checklist of the Fauna and Flora of South Georgia
Bird Breeding Calendar
Bibliography. Divided up under General, Natural History, Geology and Glaciology, History, British Admiralty Charts, Maps
Useful Addresses and Websites
Photo/Art Credits

"With a foreword by Keith Shackleton, this book gives information on the history, vegetation and wildlife of 24 of South Georgia's most popular visitor sites. Sally and Kim have drawn on experts in many fields to pull together facts about South Georgia's discovery, past and present, together with its rich animal and plant life. Each site described is accompanied by a detailed map showing the location of wildlife, vegetation, historic artefacts, topographical features of interest and hiking routes. Visitor tips, some of the island's special features and history are covered in additional chapters. The book is illustrated with many photographs and is brought to a close with some inspirational words from Ellen MacArthur."
--From the publisher's website.

(19 February 2006)

A VISITOR'S GUIDE TO THE FALKLAND ISLANDS by Debbie Summers. (London: Falklands Conservation, Second Edition 2005.) 132pp. Numerous photo illustrations, mostly in color, maps and other illustrations. Spiral binding, card covers. £12.50. ISBN: 1-9538-3715-7. Web:

This is produced in the same format as Poncet and Crosbie's 'A Visitor's Guide to South Georgia,' which appears above. It is just as well done and would be the book to consult before, during and after a trip to the Falklands.
--R. Stephenson
21 May 2006

Map of the Falkland Islands showing site locations
Falkland Islands Countryside Code
Foreword. Sven-Olof Lindblad
Falkland Conservation
A Visitor's Guide to the Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands--An Expedition Leader's Perspective. By Allan White
Photography in the Falkland Islands. By Tony Chater
A Brief History
The Falkland Islands People
Arrival by Sea--Berkeley Sound--Port William--Stanley Harbour
Falkland Facts
Bertha's Beach
Bleaker Island
Carcass Island
George and Barren Islands
Grand Jason
Grave Cove
Gypsy Cove
Kidney Cove
New Island
New Island North Nature Reserve
New Island South Nature Reserve
Pebble Island
Port Howard
Saunders Island
Sea Lion Island
Second Passage
Steeple Jason
Volunteer Point
Weddell Island
West Point Island
Glossary of Terms
Further Reading
Useful Addresses
Checklist of the Fauna and Flora mentioned in the text
Photographic Credits
"The Falkland Islands are among the few places left that can truly be described as "off the beaten track". Most first-timers to the Islands are pleasantly surprised. The temperate climate (with occasional strong winds) coupled with breathtaking scenery, a fascinating way of life and abundant wildlife all contribute.

This fascinating guide, produced by the WILDGuides design team, contains a comprehensive full-colour insight into the top nineteen destinations currently visited by cruise vessels in the Falkland Islands. There are also four future sites briefly described which are hoping to attract the cruise industry. The introductory map shows the location of each place within the Falklands archipelago. The text outlines history, possible landing places, with detailed maps, wildlife information, geology and nature/hiking trails. A checklist of all species mentioned, with their English and scientific names, is included. There is also information on the history, the people, Stanley - the capital of the Islands and much more.

There are photographs and specially drawn maps. Most of these tourist sites are privately owned and the unique maps contain information added personally by landowners that you will not find in print anywhere else. There is a "features" column for each site which provides site-specific information, and a "pointers" column which has specific reference to the Falkland Islands Countryside Code."

JOURNALS, CAPTAIN SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION by Robert Falcon Scott, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Max Jones. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.) 529pp. 17 mostly black & white photographic illustrations, 3 maps. £14.99. ISBN: 0-19-280333-6. Web:

List of Illustrations
Compositions and Publication History
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Robert Falcon Scott and 'Scott's Last Expedition'
Preface, by Clements R. Markham
British Antarctic Expedition
Chapters I - XX
Editor's Appendix I: 'Biographical Introduction', by J.M. Barrie
Editor's Appendix II: 'The Finding of the Dead', by E.L. Atkinson
Editor's Appendix III: Significant Changes to Scott's Original Base and Sledging Journals
Explanatory Notes
Glossary of Names

The vividness, drama, and poignancy of Scott's Journals are as powerful today as they were when they were first published in 1913, when the world learnt the news of the expedition's tragic end. This edition reprints the 1913 text, including many of the original photographs and drawings, as well as incorporating the wealth of scholarship on polar exploration which has appeared since 1913.
* First publication of all the passages deleted from Scott's original text.
* First account of the publishing history of one of the iconic texts of the twentieth century, drawing on papers in the John Murray archive which have never been consulted before.
* The first fully annotated edition, which for the first time give[s] due weight to the scientific aims of the expedition.
* Edited by Max Jones, author of The Last Great Quest, whose introduction outlines the history of the expedition, the circumstances surrounding publication of the Journals, Scott's changing reputation over the last century, and the continued attraction of heroes in our cynical age.
* Includes J. M. Barrie's 'Biographical Introduction'

In January 1912 Captain Scott reached the South Pole, to find he had been beaten by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. Scott and his companions faced an 850-mile march to safety. All perished on the return. A few months later, a search party found Scott's body and the journals which told his tragic story.

Scott's own account was published to extraordinary acclaim in 1913. Danger grips the reader from the first chapter, as the Terra Nova struggles to force a path through the pack ice. The journey to an unknown land becomes a journey into the self, as Scott's mood oscillates between hope and despair. And, in his last entries, Scott gives voice to the heroic fantasies of his generation, the generation which would fight and die in the Great War.

This new edition draws on ninety years of reflection on the Antarctic disaster to illuminate Scott's journals, publishing for the first time a complete list of the changes made to Scott's original text. Drawing on papers from the John Murray archive which have never been used before, Max Jones tells the story of this remarkable book and charts the changing fortunes of Scott's reputation.

--From the OUP website.

Up to now there was no easy way to know what changes crept into Scott's Journals between their retrieval by the search party led by Dr Atkinson (12 November 1912) and the publication of Scott's Last Expedition (nearly a year later on 6 November 1913), other than to plunk down a lot of money for the photo-facsimile of the Journals published by University Microfilms back in 1968 (my six volume set cost me $698.46 in 1999 and sells for even more today). Now there is. Buy this book, which reproduces Scott's Last Expedition--volume I, at least--and then devotes pp 457-471 to the changes. Nothing terribly earthshaking is revealed, but it;s nice to have them laid out,

There's more though. As part of the front matter of the book are:

• The editor's 25-page Introduction is well-done, covering Scott's life and offering some insights on the his ever-changing place in English history.

• Next is the seven-page section on the 'Composition and Publication History' of Scott's Last Expedition. This will certainly be of interest to book collectors. I found the information on the Strand Magazine extracts and the later editions of SLE very useful.

• Following this is the excellent and thorough 'Select Bibliography' which numbers five pages. It's divided up as follows: Principal Editions of the Writings of Robert Falcon Scott; Published Memoirs and Diaries of the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913; Principal Biographies of Robert Falcon Scott; Biographies of the Crew of the BAE, 1910-1913; Secondary Sources on Scott and Antarctic Exploration; and General Secondary Sources.

• Then there is 'A Chronology of Robert Falcon Scott and Scott's Last Expedition' which runs to seven pages. It starts with Cook's first crossing of the Antarctic Circle in 1773 and ends in 1986 when Discovery heads for its permanent home and birthplace, Dundee.

Following 'Scott's Last Expedition' (volume I and without most of the illustrations), starting at page 446 are the . . .

• Editor's Appendix I, the seven-page Biographical Introduction by Scott's friend J.M. Barrie which had been prepared for Turley's 1914 book and appeared in later John Murray editions of SLE.

• Editor's Appendix II The Finding of the Dead by E. L. Atkinson which first appeared in the 1923 John Murray 'cheap edition.'

• Editor's Appendix III Significant Changes to Scott's Original Base and Sledging Journals (18 October 1910 - 29 March 1912). These 15 pages are what make the book particularly useful for the researcher. The entries are arranged by date and text is indicated as "original passage cut", "new passage inserted" and "?" (handwriting difficult to decipher).

• The Explanatory Notes of the editor then follow, 34 pages of them. These are often interesting.

• Next comes the Glossary of Names, ten pages of short biographies of not only members of the expedition but people associated with Scott such as Barrie, Markham, and the New Zealand agent Kinsey.

• Lastly comes the 14 page Index.

All in all an excellent job. My one complaint: The production is not up to the importance of the subject. Although affordably priced, the volume is cheaply produced, too small in size and the pages with far too narrow margins.

--R. Stephenson
(26 December 2005)

BOOKS ON ICE; BRITISH & AMERICAN LITERATURE OF POLAR EXPLORATION by David H. and Deirdre C. Stam. Designed by Jerry Kelly. Limited to 530 copies. (New York: The Grolier Club, 2005.) 157pp. End-paper maps, pictorial covers and 41 other maps and illustrations. $30. ISBN: 0-910672-63-6. Web:

This is a very nicely produced volume, as one would expect from the Grolier Club, New York's prestigious club of book collectors. The catalogue format gives the explorer or author with birth and death years, a brief bibliographical description, the lender of the item in question, approximately a half page or a page of text describing the expedition or events portrayed in the book, and a useful section at the end of each entry with suggestions for further reading. An excellent addition to any polar reference shelf.

List of Illustrations

1) The Early Arctic Landscape to 1800
2) Exploring the Arctic Seas, 1801-50
3) The Northwest Passage, Sir John Franklin, and the Franklin Search, 1820-60
4) Dogma, Disasters, and Derring-do in the Far North, 1860-1905
5) Nordic Successes and American Animosities, 1880-1909
6) Antarctica: Scott and The Rush Southward, 1820-1912
7) Antarctica: Shackleton and Others, 1907-22
8) Science and Society
9) Literature of the Imagination, 1800-1945
10) Society Moves In
Realia and Other Objects

Produced as a catalogue to the exhibition of the same name at the Club until 4 February 2006. [See information under 'Events' elsewhere on this site.]

--R. Stephenson
(26 December 2005)

SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC; A LIFE OF COURAGE AND TRAGEDY IN THE EXTREME SOUTH by David Crane. (London: HarperCollins, 2005) 637 pp., £25. ISBN: 0-00-715068-7. Web:

Scott is certainly on the ascendancy these days: In the past few years several titles have appeared that have set the beleaguered hero on an upward course after the modern era's battering that began with Huntford's biography. The first was the late David Yelverton's Antarctica Unveiled, on the Discovery expedition. Soon after came Susan Solomon's excellent The Coldest March. Following these were Ran Fiennes' Captain Scott and Max Jones' The Last Great Quest: Captain Scott's Antarctic Sacrifice. And now here's a 637 page treatment by David Crane. More will surely come.

I haven't even started to dip into it but here are some initial reactions to the physical presentation at least. What's with these colorized bookjackets? The one here is very similar to the one on Ran Fiennes' book. Black and white Ponting photographs photoshopped away! The photo illustrations inside will nearly all be familiar to students of Antarctic history; a more eclectic selection would have been refreshing. The bibliography is sadly lacking. I'll have more to say once I read it and I hope it will be more positive. In the meantime I've included below a blurb from the publisher and a review from The Sunday Times.

-R. Stephenson
(4 December 2005)

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Notes on Distances, Temperatures and Weights
1. St. Paul's, 14 February 1913
2. Childhood and Dartmouth
3. Scott's Navy
4. Crisis
5. Enter Markham
6. Preparations
7. South
8. Into the Ice
9. Harsh Lessons
10. Antarctic Night
11. Man Proposeth . . . God Disposeth
12. The Southern Journey
13. Survival
14. A Second Winter
15. Last Season
16. A Long Wait
17. Escape from the Ice
18. The Reluctant Lion
19. The Pull of the South
20. Of Lions and Lionesses
21. Marking Time
22. Making Ready
23. South Again
24. Challenges
25. Return to the Ice
26. Depot-Laying
27. Disaster
28. Winter
29. The Barrier
30. Without Priority
31. Ars Moriendi
Select Bibliography
Index 23.
"'It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more...For God's sake look after our people.'
These were the final words written in Scott's diary on 29 March 1912, as he lay dying in his tent with Birdie Bowers and Edward Wilson. Oates had taken himself into a blizzard a few days before, and the fifth member of the Polar party, Edgar Evans had died some ten days previously, worn out by the cold and physical effort of the journey across Antarctica.
Since then Scott has been the subject of many books--many hagiographical, others dismissive and scathing. Yet in all the pages that have been written about him, the personality behind the legend has been forgotten or distorted beyond all recognition.
David Crane's magisterial biography, based on years of close and detailed research with the original documents, redresses this completely. By reassessing Scott's life and his substantial scientific achievements, Crane is able to provide a fresh and exciting perspective on both the Discovery expedition of 1901-4 and the Terra Nova expedition of 1910-12. The courage and tragedy of Scott's last journey are only one part of the process, for the scientific enquiry that led up to it transformed the whole nature and ambition of Antarctic exploration.
One of the great strengths of this biography is Scott's own voice, which echoes through the pages. Scott's descriptions of the monumental landscape of Antarctica in all its fatal and icy beauty are breathtaking; his honest, heartfelt letters and diaries give the reader an unforgettable account of the challenges he faced both in his personal life and as a superlative leader of men in possibly the harshest environment on the planet.
Written with the full support of Scott's surviving relatives, and with access to the voluminous diaries and records of key participants, including admiring scientists, this definitive biography sets out to reconcile the very private struggles of the man with the very public life of extremes that he led."
--From publisher's website.
Review by Anthony Sattin

Captain Scott would have been horrified by the fuss made over his death, when the king led a memorial service at St Paul's and a generation about to enter the first world war revered him for showing them how to die on the battlefields of the Somme and elsewhere. Above all, he would have been troubled by the controversy surrounding his two Antarctic expeditions.

The biographies that appeared immediately after Scott's death in Antarctica in 1912 tended towards hagiography. Subsequent generations have reassessed the myth. With each retelling, the story of the men who died gloriously but futilely just a few miles from help has seemed increasingly ridiculous. Another fine British cock-up. This process culminated in the 1980s when Roland Huntford dismissed Scott as "stupid and recklessly incompetent" and blamed him for the death of his men. Recently, however, the tide of public opinion has began to turn in Scott's favour; only last year, Ranulph Fiennes came to his defence in a biography that used Fiennes's own polar experiences to assess the risks that Scott took when he made his final, fatal journey. Now David Crane has written what his publisher claims is the definitive biography. If this is the last word, then Scott can at last rest easy in his icy grave.

All biographers agree about the beginning: Captain Robert Falcon Scott was a young naval officer of some abilities and more determination, who wanted to get ahead on merit at a time when the navy still valued a man's contacts more than his abilities. The frustration this created shows in an early diary entry, when he wrote that "the naval officer should be provided by nature with an infinite capacity for patiently accepting disappointments". Disappointments continued until 1900, when he caught the eye of Sir Clements Markham, the president of the Royal Geographical Society. Markham was looking for someone to lead an expedition to the South Pole.

Scott led two journeys south, the first as commander of the Discovery, the second, fatal journey, aboard the Terra Nova, when he reached the South Pole, only to find that a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, had beaten him to it. Scott was 33 at the time of the first expedition, and 44 when he died. In those 11 years, he emerged from obscurity to become a national and, in death, an international hero. Part of the magic lay in the destination. When Scott and his men walked out onto the ice, they stepped on to terra incognita; it was a place so remote and challenging that in the 18th century Captain Cook had declared no man would ever cross it.

Advances in technology and experience had brought Antarctica within Scott's reach and he found it one of the most beautiful places on earth. One of the most hostile, too. Even the heart of the Sahara holds no horror like a polar winter. "It seemed like a nightmare," Scott wrote during the first journey, a thought echoed by the men who followed him. This was, and remains, no place for humans, and those who travelled there did so only with a vast amount of support. As soon as the aid was exhausted, the men died.

Crane shows how hopelessly badly prepared Scott and his men were for the challenge, but he pins the blame elsewhere. Their ship leaked, their clothing was inadequate for the temperatures, their rations failed to replenish the vast amount of energy they burnt in the cold and, perhaps most important, their transport arrangements were inept. Here Scott has come in for blame: he tried dog-sleds on the first expedition, but found nothing was as efficient, or as morally satisfying, as man-hauling.

The decision to man-haul had serious implications for the second journey. The race to the South Pole was hardly "fair" because Amundsen had greater experience of travelling on ice and was happy to use dogs and skis. Even Crane attacks Scott for not having the vision or imagination to think "out of the frame", a legacy of his navy training, although he is quick to point out that Scott compensated for this with "clarity of thought and force of personality".

Crane also recognises the explorer's strong sense of romantic, heroic purpose, seeing Antarctica as a setting for "the chivalry of England to test itself in a quest that united pointlessness, patriotism and personal heroism in ways that nothing before the Somme would ever equal". Knightly chivalry was certainly on show--the explorers even had pennants on their sleds. And the parallel with the Somme is apt. In death, Scott became an English ideal, a leader who stood by his men and never gave in.

So which version of Scott is true: Huntford's bungling fool or Crane's transcendent romantic? Crane recognises that in spite of a mass of material, including Scott's beautifully written journals, much of his "interior landscape" has remained elusive. In this magnificently researched and enticingly written account, Crane has explored more of that landscape than any biographer before him. In so doing, he recognises Scott's failures but also talks up his many successes, as an explorer and, perhaps more important, as a leader. It was Scott, after all, who inspired greatness in men such as Ernest Shackleton, Edgar Evans and Captain Oates. In the end, Crane sides with Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who ruminated for years about his lost leader and decided that it was not the achievements that mattered so much as "the spirit of the men".

--From The Sunday Times November 20, 2005

BORN ADVENTURER; THE LIFE OF FRANK BICKERTON ANTARCTIC PIONEER by Stephen Haddelsey. (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, Ltd., 2005.) 255pp. £20. ISBN: 0-7509-4012-3. Publication date: 1 October 2005. Web:

Stephen Haddelsey's biography of Frank Bickerton is now out. He's kept us up to day on its progress for well over a year. I hope to get to it soon and will report back, but for the moment I include the Contents and some publicity from the publisher.

List of Illustrations & Maps
Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt, OBE
Author's Note
1. Of Ice and Treasure
2. Tempest-Tossed
3. Terra Adélie
4. This Breezy Hole
5. Westward Ho!
6. Hope Deferred
7. Endurance
8. Air War
9. The Restless Heart
10. From Cape to Cairo
11. Movies and Marriage
Sources and Bibliography

Born Adventurer tells the story of Frank Bickerton (1889-1954), the British engineer on Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14. The expedition gave birth to what Sir Ranulph Fiennes has called 'one of the greatest accounts of polar survival in history' and surveyed for the first time the 2,000-mile stretch of coast around Cape Denison, which later became Adelie Land. The AAE was however only one episode in a rich and colourful career. Bickerton accompanied the ill-fated Aeneas Mackintosh on a treasure hunt to R.L. Stevenson's Treasure Island, was involved with the early stages of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and tested 'wingless aeroplanes' in Norway. Born Adventurer follows him through his many experiences, from his flying career in the First World War to his time in California, mixing with the aristocracy of the Hollywood and sporting worlds and from his safaris in Africa to his distinguished career as an editor and screenplay writer at Shepperton Studios. Stephen Haddesley draws on unique access to family papers and Bickerton's journals and letters to give us a rich and full account of the story of this incredible adventurer and colourful man.
--From the publisher's website.

Stephen Haddelsey e-mailed recently to say "...that 'Born Adventurer'--my biography of Frank Bickerton--has been accepted for publication by Sutton Publishing, a medium sized, mainstream English publisher. Of course, I'm delighted!."

John Stewart's Antarctica--An Encyclopedia describes Bickerton thusly: "Motor engineer in charge of the airplane/sledge during the AAE 1911-14. He led the Western Party during their expedition. He was due to go south again on the Endurance with Shackleton in 1914, but World War I took him into the navy."

Stephen has been researching Bickerton for some time now and has come up with some interesting material.
R. Stephenson
(26 June 2004)


Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Oxford-born explorer Frank Bickerton. Nicola Lisle meets the man determined to put his name on the map.

Talking to Stephen Haddelsey--Frank Bickerton's first cousin three times removed--it is clear that he is immensely proud of his family ties to this pioneering explorer.

He is also disappointed that so few people have heard of Bickerton, and is determined to get posthumous recognition for his ancestor's formidable list of achievements.

With his biography, Born Adventurer, currently being considered by a publisher, and plans afoot for an exhibition at the Museum of Oxford, he is certainly taking a step in the right direction.

Frank Bickerton was born on January 15,1889, at The Elms, Iffley--now the Hawkwell House Hotel--and baptised at St Mary's Church, Iffley.

His father was Joseph Jones Bickerton who, for many years, was the Town Clerk of Oxford, as well as secretary to a number of local organisations and societies.

He was a well known and respected citizen, as is evident from the fact that Bickerton Road in Headington was named after him. He died in 1894, followed soon after by his wife, Eliza Frances Fox. Six-year-old Frank went to live in Plymouth with his maternal uncle.

He was educated at Marlborough College, and went on to the City and Guilds Technical College in London to train as an engineer, specialising in aeronautical engineering. His expertise in this field resulted in him being recruited to accompany Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911.

It was to be Bickerton's responsibility to maintain the Vicker's REP monoplane, which Mawson intended to use for surveying his route. The plane crashed on its test flight in Adelaide, so Bickerton converted it into an air tractor sledge, which was used extensively during the expedition.

Bickerton was also one of the first to use wireless telegraphy in the Antarctic, and one of the first to step onto Adelie Land. From December 1912 to January 1913, he led a three-man party across 160 miles of uncharted territory, and became one of the first to discover a meteorite in the Antarctic. Thanks to this discovery, Antarctica is now recognised as one of the most important meteorite fields on the planet.

On his return to England, Bickerton was awarded the prestigious King's Polar Medal in silver.

In 1914, Bickerton was recruited by Sir Ernest Shackleton for his Endurance expedition, but instead he volunteered for service with the Middlesex Regiment, and became a First World War hero.

Despite suffering horrific injuries, he was off exploring again as soon as the war ended, travelling to Africa, Cocos Islands, Newfoundland and California. He married late in life, in 1937, and died 17 years later while holidaying in Wales.

Researching Bickerton's life has not been easy, but Stephen Haddelsey has been able to track down surviving friends and relatives including Bickerton's daughter, who has been extremely supportive. "She has lent me a lot of material, including three journals covering his Africa trip, which are absolutely laden with photographs. I've also found things in people's attics, and in the BBC archives. Also, the Mawson Collection in Australia was able to help," he said.

Throughout his research, Haddelsey has built up a clear picture of Bickerton's personality, and liked what he saw.

"He was pretty modest and retiring, but he also had a wicked sense of humour--this has come to light quite recently from photos that show him larking around with his best friend, Captain Cuthbert Orde, and these are really intimate, fun snaps. His humour also comes through in his journals.

"One thing that concerned me when I started looking into his Africa exploits--particularly in terms of quoting his words, which I've done extensively--was the possibility that he might come across as less than politically correct. I was expecting all sorts of negative references to the natives of Africa, but instead he talks admiringly about their skills, and about their physical beauty. So that was a great relief to me; it made me like him as a man."

But Bickerton's outstanding quality, of course, was the restless, adventurous spirit that shaped much of his life, and Haddelsey's book is largely concerned with whether that adventurous spirit was inherited.

Was Bickerton a born adventurer? Or was it forced on him by circumstances? These are the questions that Haddelsey's book seeks to answer.

"The most important part of his life is Antarctica," he said: "Over 50 per cent of the book covers his Antarctic expeditions, and the rest of the book covers the First World War, Africa, Cocos Island, Newfoundland and some of his other adventures. But the most adventurous part of his life is Antarctica, and his involvement with the two highly experimental aeroplanes and wireless telegraphy."

When Haddelsey started his research, nobody in Oxford seemed to have heard of Bickerton. That could all be about to change. This month sees the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of Oxford entitled Hidden Oxford, which will focus on unknown aspects of the city, including Frank Bickerton.

Next year, the museum will be mounting a large-scale, multiple-room exhibition devoted to Bickerton's career. Much of his Antarctica memorabilia will be on display, including parts of the crashed monoplane, which are being brought over from Australia.

This month also sees the unveiling of a plaque at the Hawkwell House Hotel in Iffley, commemorating Bickerton's birthplace.

Haddelsey is delighted at the level of interest he's generated, which is a fitting tribute to a man whose courage and pioneering spirit so greatly enhanced our knowledge and understanding of Antarctica.

"Essentially, that was his nature," Haddelsey explained. "He was a born adventurer."

--From (22 May 2005)

UPDATE: "...Born Adventurer: The Life of Frank Bickerton, Antarctic Pioneer will be released by Sutton Publishing on 22 September 2005, priced at £20 in the UK. US and Australian releases will happen in 2006. As you know, Bickerton was mechanical engineer on Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14. He was responsible for the first experiments with an aeroplane and with wireless telegraphy in the Antarctic. He also led the 3-man Western Sledging Expedition, which discovered the first Antarctic meteorite. After the AAE, Bickerton was recruited for the Endurance expedition and he accompanied Shackleton to Norway to test the expedition's "wingless aeroplanes" in May 1914. Antarctic exploration was, however, just one facet of an incredibly varied career. Bickerton accompanied Aeneas Mackintosh on a treasure-hunt to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island"; he fought as a trenches officer and fighter pilot in WWI; he founded a colony in Newfoundland with Victor Campbell of the Terra Nova; he mixed with the aristocracy of America's sporting and film worlds and with England's artistic and literary elite during the Roaring Twenties; he travelled from Cape to Cairo by train, plane and automobile during the golden age of the African safari; and finally worked with J.R. Stenhouse of the Aurora and Discovery as a screenwriter during the heyday of the British cinema. My book covers all of these adventures and it will I hope, appeal not only to those interested in the "Heroic Age" of Antarctic exploration, but also to anyone who enjoys a great adventure story. The official launch of the book will be at the Woodstock Literary Festival in Oxfordshire, between 13-16 October 2005. I will be taking part in an "in conversation" event at 2pm on Friday 14 October--and all are welcome. The book can already be ordered in advance via the WH Smith, Tesco's and Amazon websites and its ISBN number is: 0750940123."
--From a recent e-mail from the author.
(13 August 2005)
Congratulations, Stephen!

Stephen Haddelsey's next effort: "...I am now working on the first full biography of Commander Joseph Russell Stenhouse DSO, OBE etc: first officer and then commander of the Aurora on Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The book will cover not only Sten's Antarctic work--on the Aurora and on the Discovery during the 1920s--but also his service as a Q-ship commander and in North Russia during WWI; his adventures in the US during prohibition; his treasure-hunting exploits; and many more. Already research is progressing well but, as always, I would welcome any information from your readers. The book is to be published by Sutton Publishing in 2007 (which will mark the 120th anniversary of Sten's birth)."
--From another recent e-mail.
(13 August 2005)

UPDATE: Stephen has recently e-mailed some 'critical notices' relative to his biography of Frank Bickerton. Here they are:

"Some larger than life characters enter legend; others enter literature - the model for at least three fictional explorers, Frank Bickerton stuffed his life with event, and not only took part in the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14, but was a treasure-hunter, served in both world wars... and worked in the British film industry in its heyday... It's the AAE that forms the focus of the first half of this biography, and Stephen Haddelsey is good on the minutiae of life in an Antarctic camp... one suspects undiscovered exploits still remain. What's here, however, represents enough for several ordinary lives". GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE, Feb 2006.

"Haddelsey makes a magnificent job of getting posthumous recognition for his ancestor's formidable list of achievements". NOTTINGHAMSHIRE TODAY, March 2006.

"A Fascinating character". ADVENTURE TRAVEL, Jan 2006.

"I have always suspected that inside every man there is a secret adventurer and inside every woman there is a desire to fall in love with one. And if ever there was a man who could ignite those inner passions, it is Frank Bickerton, whose spellbinding biography surely cries out to be made into a film... Born Adventurer takes the reader into the world of a real life adventurer who puts Hollywood action heroes into the shade". THE TAMWORTH JOURNAL, Feb 2006.

"Insightful and skilled". THE OXFORD TIMES, Jan 2006.

"A fascinating insight into a man who lived life to the full". SOUTH NOTTS ADVERTISER, Dec 2005.

"A true son of the heroic age". WESTERN MORNING NEWS, Nov 2005."

(19 March 2006)

TERRA ANTARCTICA; LOOKING INTO THE EMPTIEST CONTINENT by William L. Fox. (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2005.) 312pp. $35. ISBN: 1-595340-15-7. Web:

Bill Fox's book has been a long time coming. We first mentioned his efforts back in April 2003. [See Bill's Antarctic Image Chronology which appears elsewhere on the Antarctic-Circle website.]

I haven't had a chance to dip into the book yet although I plan to take it with me to the Byrd Polar Research Center conference next week in Ohio [see 'Upcoming & Current Antarctic Events' elsewhere on this site for details]. I did look at the illustrations which make up an interesting collection of photographs and art, and at the bibliography, a 25-page listing that has useful annotations.

More after I've read it.

1. The Mirror & the Eye
2. The Eye & the Mirror
3. Transantarctica I
4. From Chart to Art
5. The Physical Plant
6. Navigating Nature
7. Pole
8. The History of Ice
9. Transantarctica II
10. Orbiting Antarctica
11. On the Mountain of Myth
12. From Art to Chart
13. On the Edge of Time

"The Antarctic is famously the harshest continent; everyone who has ever visited it would fit into a football stadium. Terra Antarctica traces how humans have attempted to comprehend the most alien place on the planet, a continent that our species is superbly ill-equipped even to imagine, much less live on.

Over a two-year period, William Fox assembled the Antarctic's history of artistic, cartographic, and scientific images--both real and imagined--in order to understand how we represent its landscape. He then spent almost three months working on the continent at McMurdo Station, the Ross Sea Region, the Transantarctic Mountains, and the South Pole. The resulting work masterfully expands our understanding of human interaction with a landscape at the frontier of knowledge.

Fox recounts unnerving experiences like being caught in a whiteout, camping on the volcano Mount Erebus during a hurricane, and taking frigid hikes past the edge of the mapped world. Alternating lyrical first-person narratives with chapters that delve expertly into science and art, Fox creates a dazzling portrait of a vast empty continent.

About the Author
William L. Fox is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and the author of several books, including The Black Rock Desert and The Void, the Grid, and the Sign: Traversing the Great Basin. He has been a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute and a Lannan Foundation Writer in Residence. He lives in Burbank, California."

--From the publisher's website.

"Penguins are driven to journey across Antarctica's forbidding landscape. What brings humans to Antarctica? How do they make sense of the continent's vast emptiness?

Everyone who has ever visited Antarctica would fit into a football stadium. Some are scientists. Some are cartographers. Some are artists. William Fox spent almost three months in Antarctica traveling and working with other researchers. Building on the common perception of Antarctica as a barren continent, Fox points to the many ways that life persists on the continent, from microscopic invertebrates to tiny insects, from Weddell seals and emperor penguins to human life and community, as found at McMurdo Station and the geodesic dome of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

In Terra Antarctica Fox

• takes the readers on explorations of the Dry Valleys—bare, arid land in stark contrast to snow-covered expanses
• hikes solo over snow and ice, past the edge of the mapped world
• makes unnerving snowmobile trips through whiteouts
• camps on the volcano Mount Erebus in a hurricane

Fox balances the disorienting effect of the continent's "emptiness" with anecdotes portraying daily life in the Antarctic community. In prose that Library Journal calls "absorbing and easy to read," Fox describes encounters with scientists, artists, and even a handful of disoriented penguins.

Fox recounts conversations with others working at the sites he visits and weaves in anecdotal information about the continent's weather, ecology, folklore, and history.

Continuing his lifelong fascination with dry places, Fox explores how we portray in painting, photography, and other art an empty space. He pursues multiple lines of study to describe Antarctic explorations and cartographic surveys, and how humans attempt to understand one of the world's strangest places.

Fox writes about how we make sense of our surroundings, turning space into place and land into landscape. He examines the artistic, scientific and cartographic methods used to make the blank space of Antarctica comprehensible. Alternating lyrical first-person narratives with chapters that delve expertly into science and art, Fox creates a dazzling portrait of a vast empty continent."

--From a press release.


Bill Fox e-mailed recently to say "I'm working on revisions for the Antarctic book, which will come out in fall of 2004." [See Bill's 'Antarctic Image Chronology' elsewhere on this site.]
(19 April 2003)

Another update from Bill: "The revisions to Terra Antarctica are almost finished, finally, and I will submit the revised text to the publisher at the end of this month. My editor has suggested that we greatly increase the number of illustrations from the original eight color and 20-30 black & white images. In order to do so we will have to push back publication from fall of 2004 to spring of 2005, about a five month delay--but it's worth it."
(18 September 2003)

Another update from Bill: "The copy edits for what is now titled Terra Antarctica: A Cognitive History of the Continent have been completed. This means that it will now be typeset and then I'll be sent galleys to proof. So we're moving along. The publisher, Trinity University Press, will be take the manuscript both to Book Expo in New York and the Frankfurt Book Fair later this year in hopes of interesting foreign publishers, as well (England, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia being candidates I at least think logical possibilities).
Artists who have works slated to be reproduced in the book will in a few days receive e-mails from me about preparations for reproduction.
Some of you may know that an essay of mine called "Leaving the Ice" appeared in the January/February issue of Orion Magazine (on the front cover it's referred to as "Out of Antarctica". Go figure). Anyway, it's handsomely illustrated with photos by Stuart Klipper and Bill Sutton. You can find the magazine at, although the essay is not online."
(12 April 2004)

Another update from Bill: "Well, finally we have a book coming out in a few weeks. ... After much to-and-fro on the budget, the publisher (Trinity University Press) opted for 40 plates in color. More than I had hoped originally, but less than the maximum offered at one point. Still, artists such as David Rosenthal, Stuart Klipper, Anne Noble, Nel Law, Ty Milford, and Bill Sutton are well represented."
(20 August 2005)

THE LAST EXPLORER; HUBERT WILKINS, AUSTRALIA'S UNKNOWN HERO by Simon Nasht. (Australia: Hodder Headline, 2005) 346pp., A$35. ISBN: 0733618316. Web:

See below for the US and UK Editions

Simon Nasht's biography of Sir Hubert Wilkins is now out in Australia. A copy is on its way to me but all I can include here is a publicity blurb and some past mentions. More later.

It may be ordered worldwide from

"Hubert Wilkins was truly the last--and one of the greatest--explorers. And much more. Born in South Australia, he spent much of his life out of the country--but always remained an Australian. He travelled through every continent, and was a pioneer of aviation. He survived crashes and disasters, firing squads and sabotage, living long enough to be honoured by kings, presidents and dictators. He was a front-line photographer in World War I--and was twice decorated. He took the first ever film of battle, and took the first moving images from an aircraft. He was the first man to fly across the Arctic Ocean, the first to fly in the Antarctic--and the first to fly from America to Europe across the then unknown Arctic (the New York Times called this 'the greatest flight in history'). In the 1930s he spent several years travelling in western Queensland and the Northern Territory--where many of his observations and views were ahead of their time. In the later years of his life, he worked for the US military and intelligence--and in 1958 he was buried at sea at the North Pole by the US Navy.

Author Info
Simon Nasht has worked as a journalist in newspapers, and on radio and TV, and most recently has worked as a documentary maker in Europe and Australia."
—From Australian publisher's website (


Simon Nasht, who has recently completed a documentary on Frank Hurley (see 'Antarctic Film and Photography' elsewhere on this site) e-mails to say: ". . . my next project after the Hurley film is a biography of polar aviator, Sir Hubert Wilkins. Called 'The Last Explorer' to be published by Hodder Headline in 2005."
(8 August 2004)

UPDATE: The Australian edition never got to me but the book was released in the US recently and here are the details:

THE LAST EXPLORER; HUBERT WILKINS, HERO OF THE GREAT AGE OF POLAR EXPLORATION by Simon Nasht. (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2006) 346 pp., $27.50. ISBN: 1559708255. Web:

I've not read Simon's book yet—it just came this week—but it looks like an interesting account of a less-well-known but quite important aviator and explorer. I know of only two biographies of Wilkins: Those by Lowell Thomas (1961) and John Grierson (1960). My guess is that this biography adds new information, particularly that from an Australian perspective.

UPDATE: I did receive my copy and finished it recently. I give it high marks. Wilkins' life is a far more engrossing story than I foresaw. One wonders why his exploits haven't received more attention. High recommended.
—R. Stephenson
(8 November 2008)
1. In the Blood
2. True Adventure Thrills
3. An Adventurer's Apprenticeship
4. The Mad Photographers
5. A Man Apart
6. The Great Race
7. Unsuccessfully South
8. Drought Lands
9. Undiscovered Australia
10. Ultima Thule
11. Over the Top
12. Around the World in Twenty-one Days
13. The Suicide Club
14. The Voyage of the Nautilus
15. King of the Antarctic
16. Restless Years
17. Ninety Degrees North, August 3, 1958
18. The Final Journey, March 17, 1959
Epilogue: The Weatherman
"In the tradition of The Ice Master and The Endurance, the incredible story of the first truly modern explorer, whose death-defying adventures and uncommon modesty make this book itself an extraordinary discovery.
Hubert Wilkins was the most successful explorer in history: no one saw with his own eyes more undiscovered land and sea. Largely self-taught, Wilkins became a celebrated newsreel cameraman in the early 1900s, as well as a reporter, pilot, spy, war hero, scientist, and adventurer, capturing in his lens war and famine, cheating death repeatedly, meeting world leaders like Lenin and Stalin, and circling the globe on a zeppelin. Apprenticing with the greats of polar exploration, including Shackleton in the Antarctic, Wilkins recognized the importance for discovery of new technologies, like the airplane and submarine. He helped map the Canadian Arctic and plumbed the ocean depths from the ice cap. He became the first to fly across the North Pole, which won him a knighthood. He was the first to fly to the Antarctic and discover land there by airplane, and the first to take a submarine under the Arctic ice. A visionary who grasped the link between the poles and changing global weather, Wilkins was a pioneer in weather forecasting and the study of global warming—a true hero of the earth."
--From the US publisher's website (

-R. Stephenson
(25 August 2006)

UPDATE: I see the book is now available in the US from Arcade Publishing at $27.50.
It's also available from at £12.99.

NO MORE BEYOND: THE LIFE OF HUBERT WILKINS by Simon Nasht. (Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited, 2006) 368 pp., £25 HARDBACK. ISBN: 184158519X. Web:
The UK edition has a different title.

WHEN THE CORVETTE URUGUAY WAS DISMASTED: THE RETURN OF THE URUGUAY FROM THE ANTARCTIC IN 1903 by Hermelo, Ricardo S., José M. Sobral, Felipe Fliess. (Gricelda and Lawrence Perales, translators; Michael H. Rosove, editor). Santa Monica, California: Adélie Books, 2004. 26 cm, quarter cloth, handmade marbled papered boards, pp. 36, color frontispiece. Edition limited to 250 copies. $75 California; $69.50 out-of-state; $78.50 international, all postpaid. ISBN 0-9705386-1-8
Most Antarctic polar buffs are familiar with the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-4 under the leadership of Otto Nordenskjöld, but, because all of the primary sources are in Spanish and Swedish, few are familiar with the interesting homeward-bound journey aboard the Argentinean relief vessel Uruguay. The ship was severely damaged in a storm north of the South Shetland Islands, and just what transpired between the Argentinean and Swedish staffs became a matter of intriguing controversy and pride for the Argentineans. The controversy ends with a logical and fitting resolution.

When the Corvette Uruguay Was Dismasted contains an English-language translation of a rare pamphlet entitled Cuando la Corbeta Uruguay Quedo Desarbolada (Buenos Aires, 1946), together with an historical introduction and appendices containing the original Spanish and Swedish materials.
--From an e-mail from Michael Rosove.
(3 November 2004)

UPDATE: From a recent e-mail: The Adélie Press website (annoyingly complex) is now up and running. The address is

UPDATE: Michael was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest. It's a handsome book focusing on an interesting and little known side to Nordenskjöld's expedition. I may say more once I've read it. It shouldn't take long (though there is a tall stack of books on my "to read" table) as the English translation is 7 pages.

Editor's Preface (5 pp)
English translation (7 pp)
Appendix A - Translation of Lt. Julian Irizar's Office Report Concerning the Damage to the Uruguay (2 pp)
Appendix B - Verbatim Transcript of Antarctic: "Stolt har hon levat, Stolt skall hon dö (2 pp)
Appendix C - Verbatim Transcript of Cuando la Corberta Uruguay Quedo Desarbolada: El Libro Antarctic del Dr. J.G. Andersson (7 pp) [Originally issued in Spanish at Buenos Aires in 1946]
Appendix D - Verbatim Transcript of J.G. Andersson's "Ett beriktigande" (1 p)
Bibliography (2 pp)
This is Adélie's second title, the first being the spectacular bibliography Antarctica, 1772-1922; Freestanding Publications through 1999. The book arts generally get overlooked when it comes to polar publishing and reprints. Michael Rosove certainly does a fine job in producing well designed and made books. And he does the production himself, a talented physician indeed. The last Antarctican to appreciate typography and the design of printed materials was probably Shackleton.
In this particular production, printed by the Edwards Brothers of Ann Arbor and bound by Kater-Crafts Bookbinders in Pico Rivera, California, a gray, white and violet marbled paper is used with a violet buckram quarter binding and printed paper label on the spine. The endpapers and text leaves are a cream color. There is a color frontispiece after an oil painting of the Uruguay by Emilio Biggeri. And there are two black and white photographic illustrations in the text. (These are pretty muddy but Michael explains that they merely reproduce the poor quality of the originals.)
We look forward to the next Adélie title which we know is in the works.
--R. Stephenson
(22 May 2005)

EX LIBRIS; CONFESSIONS OF A COMMON READER by Anne Fadiman. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000 in this edition, originally published in 1998) 162pp. Wrappers. $10. ISBN: 0-374-52722-9.

What's of interest in this book of essays is the chapter "My Odd Shelf" (page 21-28). A friend happened to mention it to me. She starts out . . .

"It has long been my belief that everyone's library contains an Odd Shelf. On this shelf rests a small, mysterious corpus of volumes whose subject matter is completely unrelated to the rest of the library, yet which, upon closer inspection, reveals a good deal about its owner. . . . My own Odd Shelf holds sixty-four books about polar exploration: expedition narratives, journals, collections of photographs, works of natural history, and naval manuals."
She then goes on to write interestingly about Scott, Wilson, Oates, Bowers, Evans and Amundsen. She concludes . . .
"If I had to name the dearest part of my Odd Shelf, I think it would be the pages that describe those geological specimens. The annals of polar exploration contain many moments of triumph, and even more of farce, but they are also filled with death. The lesson these books have taught me is that if you are going to be a martyr, you had better choose your animus with care. When I think of the causes for which people more commonly give up their lives--nationalism, religion, ethnicity--it seems to me that a thirty-five-pound bag of rocks, and the lost world it represents, is not such a bad thing to die for."
--R. Stephenson
(23 May 2005)

SHACKLETON'S STOWAWAY by Victoria McKernan. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 336pp. Wrappers. $15.95. ISBN: 0-375-82691-2. Library Binding $17.99. ISBN: 0-375-92691-7. For young readers 12 and up.

On October 26, 1914, Ernest Shackleton's Endurance set sail from Buenos Aires in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in exploration: the crossing of the Antarctic continent. The crew stood on deck to watch the city fade away. All but one.

Eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow hid below in a locker. But the thrill of stowing away with the legendary explorer would soon turn to fear. Within months, the Endurance, trapped and crushed by ice, sank. And even Perce, the youngest member of the stranded crew, knew there was no hope of rescue. If the men were to survive in the most hostile place on earth, they would have to do it on their own.

Victoria McKernan deftly weaves the hard-to-fathom facts of this famous voyage into an epic, edge-of-your-seat survival novel.
--From the publisher's website.

Victoria McKernan lives in Washington, D.C. This is her first novel for young adults."
--From the back cover of the advance galley.

Shackleton's Stowaway
Author's Notes
Members of the Expedition
Further Reading

An interesting approach: Shackleton's Endurance adventure from the perspective of the fo'c's'le.
--R. Stephenson
(3 November 2004)

ICE ISLAND: EXPEDITION TO ANTARCTICA'S LARGEST ICEBERG by Gregory S. Stone, photography by Wes Skiles (Boston: New England Aquarium, 2003) 75 pp., $29.95. ISBN 1-59373-017-9. Distributed by Bunker Hill Publishing, Inc. Published October 2004.
In March 2000, a chunk of ice measuring 4,500 square miles broke free from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and the world's largest iceberg was born.
The size of Jamaica, 170 miles long by 26 miles wide and more than half a mile deep, B-15 contained enough water - in the form of 1,000 cubic miles of ice - to supply the United States for five years. As it calved free from the Antarctic shelf it became the largest fast-moving object on earth.
Ice Island: The Expedition to Antarctica's Largest Iceberg is the story of a scientific expedition and adventure in one of the most hostile regions of the planet.
Through amazing photographs, Ice Island takes the reader on a journey to explore what giant melting icebergs mean in the context of 21st-century global warming. It is a story of treacherous beauty.
Gregory S. Stone, PhD, is Vice President of Global Marine Programs at the New England Aquarium, Chief Scientist of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, and a Senior Writer for National Geographic magazine.
--From the distributors website.
When the world's largest iceberg calved off Antarctica in early 2000, marine biologist Greg S. Stone and photographer Wes Skiles saw it as an invitation. Assembling a team of scientists, explorers, sailors and a helicopter pilot, they set off on the intrepid little Braveheart for the Southern Ocean to find and study this anomaly.
Through amazing photographs, this book takes readers on their journey to make contact with this huge piece of ice. With numb limbs and chilled bones, the team goes where no one has gone before, diving deep under the ice, to discover what giant melting icebergs mean in the context of twenty-first century global warming.
Part adventure story, part scientific quest, ICE ISLAND takes you to one of the most alien places on earth, one that is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is treacherous.
--From the dustjacket.

The Largest Moving Object
Those Who Went Before
Getting There: Shipboard Life
As Cold As It Gets
A Global Warning
The Future
Global Warming: What You Can Do
For Further Reading

A nicely produced book on a serious subject. The photography is very good. I've often wondered why, to my knowledge, there has never been a book focusing exclusively on the variety, shape, color and beauty presented by icebergs. This isn't it but there are some very nice views of icebergs. One historic photo caught my eye, certainly new to me: Mawson and Byrd together.
--R. Stephenson
(22 May 2005)

ANTARCTICA'S FIRST LADY by Edith "Jackie" Ronne. Beaumont, Texas: The Clifton Steamboat Museum, 2004. I don't have the details on this yet. My copy is on its way.
"Edith "Jackie" Ronne, wife of expedition leader Commander Finn Ronne, was the first American woman to set foot on Antarctica and the first woman in history to spend a winter there (15 months). She has actually been to the Antarctic more than any other woman--16 trips. Jackie Ronne has just completed a book about her experiences on that first trip, wintering over with more than 20 men and one other woman. During her stay, she was given the responsibility of handling weekly news reports and broadcasts from the Antarctic to the States. Jackie Ronne is a very lovely and interesting lady with a great story to tell!"
--From the publicity flyer.
--R. Stephenson
(23 May 2005)

THE MAGIC OF ANTARCTIC COLOURS. DAVID ABBEY PAIGE (1901-1978) ARTIST OF THE BYRD ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1933-1935 by Reinhard A. Krause and Lars U. Scholl. (Bremen: H.M. Hauschild, 2005) 126pp, sketches, pastels, paintings, photographs and other illustrations. 22 Euros. Available in German and English. ISBN: 3-89757-268-0. Published in cooperation with the German Maritime Museum and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven. The book will be available (if not know then soon) from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.

Reinhard A. Krause: Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957) and his Antarctic expeditions 1928-1935
Photos of the expedition
Lars U. Scholl: David Abbey Paige (1901-1978). Artist on Admiral Byrd's Second Antarctic Expedition
Catalogue of Sketches
Catalogue of Pastels
Vita of David Abbey Paige (1901-1978)
List of sketches and pastels
Table of photographs
Laura I. Kissel: Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program. The Ohio State University

This is a marvelous book about a little-known Antarctic artist. It was published to accompany a recent exhibition at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven. Nicely produced with many new-to-me black and white photos (one being the loading of the cows onto the Jacob Ruppert). But the highlight are the many works by Paige: 13 pencil sketches (from the collection of David Paige, Jr.) and 65 pastels and 5 oils on board from the Ohio State University Archives. These are bold and very colorful.
David Abbey Paige was born in Turkey and came to the US in 1911 to live with his Uncle in Fitchburg, Massachusetts (the art featured in this book is due to be shown at the museum in Fitchburg in a year or two). He taught at the Museum School in Boston and then work in New York as a commercial artist and interior designer. He created the cyclorama at Luna Park in New York depicting the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition at Little America. He joined the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition as the official artist. After the expedition he edited Byrd's films at Republic Studios in Hollywood and lectured widely on the expedition. From 1947 until 1970 he was a cinematographer for major motion picture studios in Hollywood. Paige died in Beverly Hills in 1978.
--R. Stephenson
(23 May 2005)

TO THE SOUTH POLE ABOARD THE FRANÇAIS by J.B. Charcot, translated by A. Billinghurst. (Norwich and Bluntisham: Erskine Press Bluntisham Books, 2005) 304pp, over 200 half tones, maps and illustrations. £45/$85. ISBN: 1-85297-062-6. Web: or

"The First French Expedition to the Antarctic set sail in 1903 under the command of Dr Jean-Baptiste Charcot, the 35-year-old son of a well-to-do neurologist.
Charcot did not want to follow in his father's footsteps, being more interested in life at sea. Using his inheritance he first sailed the waterways of France, Holland, England and around Ireland until in 1902 he sailed to Iceland. He reached the Arctic Circle and his taste for polar voyaging was established.
On his return he commissioned a new vessel, finally named the Français. On 15 August 1903 he set sail for the Antarctic, with the Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache aboard for the first leg.
Charcot had designed the ship so every man had a private space and he was especially proud of his provisioning - including adequate stocks of wine.
His account reveals a man of culture and sensitivity. His descriptions of scenery are lyrical and emotionally charged, and his attitude to wildlife was often in sharp contrast to other polar explorers. He charted new coasts, and undertook scientific studies in oceanography, bacteriology, geography, geology and meteorology.
This is a fascinating insight into a totally different style of Antarctic exploration and the reader will enjoy the delightful contrast between his expedition and others of the same period."
--From the Bluntisham website.

Introduction by Maurice Raraty [a very useful ten pages]
Translator's Note
Expedition Journal
Summer 1904 - From Cape Horn to the Overwintering Station
Autumn 1904 - Setting up the Base and the Start of Winter
Winter 1904 - Overwintering, Scientific Work and Winter Journeys
Spring 1904 - Fitting out, the Boat Journey and Departure from Wandel
Summer 1904 - 1905 - Sailing South, Aground and Return to the Civilised World
Another of the many polar titles reprinted or issued by Bluntisham and Erskine. Their efforts have resulted in a marvelous resource for Antarcticans.

--R. Stephenson
(23 May 2005)

THE CAPTAIN COOK ENCYCLOPÆDIA Written and edited by John Robson. (London: Chatham Publishing [and Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 2004) 288pp, £17.99. ISBN: 1-86175-225-9. Web:

This is as handsome and well-done as Robson's other Cook book (Captain Cook's World, see below). The Encyclopædia portion is alphabetically arranged. There is a two-page entry for 'Antarctica and Antarctic Circle' giving some background and then detailing Cook's voyages south of the Circle. The Appendices are particularly detailed and useful.
--R. Stephenson
(29 January 2005)

Foreword and Acknowledgements
James Cook (1728-1779)
The Encyclopædia
Appendices I-VI
Appendix I: A Listing of Logs, Journals, etc. associated with Captain James Cook's ships.
Appendix II: Libraries, Archives and Museums.
Appendix III: Cook's Crews.
Appendix IV: Cook Chronology.
Appendix V: Gazetteers of places named after James Cook , his ships and men who sailed with James Cook on his ships.
Vanessa Agnew
D E Anderson
Rosalin Barker
Tim Beaglehole
Ian Boreham
Julia Bruce
Jeremy Coote
Andrew David
Michael Goldsmith
Adrienne Kaeppler
Pieter van der Merwe
John Morris
John M Naish
Wayne Orchiston
Alwyn Peel
Julia Rae
Tom Ryan
Victor Suthren
Clifford E Thornton
Christopher Ware
Glyndwr Williams
Lawrence Worms

SHACKLETON'S FORGOTTEN EXPEDITION; THE VOYAGE OF THE NIMROD (Published in the UK under the title "Nimrod; Ernest Shackleton and the Extraordinary Story of the 1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition." by Beau Riffenburgh. (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2004) 358pp, apparently 352 pages in the UK edition), $25.95. ISBN: 1-58234-488-4. £17.99. ISBN: 0-74757-254-2. Web:

Members of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-09
1 A Race for Life
2 A Product of Empire
3 Life at Sea, Love on Land
4 War or an Unknown Place?
5 The Making of the British National Antarctic Expedition
6 The Great White South
7 The Southern journey
8 A Square Peg and a Round Hole
9 A Soul Whipped on by the Wanderfire
10 Nimrod
11 Underway at Last
12 A Promise Broken
13 Cape Royds
14 New Worlds to Conquer
15 Waiting Out the Winter
16 Across the Great Ice Barrier
17 The Western Party
18 A Nearest the Pole
19 The Wandering Pole
20 Forced March
21 Rescue
22 Heroes Return
Beau Riffenburgh's writes well resulting in an enjoyable and readable book. I can't put my finger on it but when I reached the final page I felt that more could have been said. The maps are quite good; the black and white photos are quite bad: dark and muddy. One minor error that jumped out at me was the setting of Savile Row and Vigo Street in Bloomsbury when they are in fact in Mayfair. (Penguin Books started off in Vigo Street; look for the slate plaque with a penguin on the brick facade.) It's annoying to see "never the less" rather than "nevertheless." Also, "none the less" although the English sometimes (but not always) use this rather than "nonetheless." I found the approach to footnotes unhelpful. They are identified in the Notes at the back by the first few words of the quote or sentence in question; but there is no way to tell from the main text whether there is a note in back or not. A criticism of most histories and biographies--and this is no exception--is the difficulty of figuring out a date. One often has to go back several pages to figure out that November 20th was in 1908 and not 1909. My belief is that running heads with the year should appear on each page.
--R. Stephenson
(27 January 2005)

"On New Year's Day 1908, the ship Nimrod set off for the mysterious regions of the Antarctic. The leader of the small expedition was Ernest Shackleton who, in the next year and a quarter would record some of the greatest achievements of his career and would then, together with his companions, return home as a hero.
Shackleton and his party battled against extreme cold, hunger, danger and psychological trauma in their attempt to reach the South Pole and to return alive. They climbed the active volcano of Mount Erebus, planted the Union Jack at the previously unattained South Magnetic Pole, and struggled to within 97 miles of the South Geographic Pole.
Beau Riffenburgh has written the definitive account of what Shackleton grandly called the British Antarctic Expedition. The story features an extraordinary cast of characters including Scott, Douglas Mawson, who would become one of the greatest Antarctic explorers, and the Antarctic pioneers Nansen and Amundsen. Nimrod is a story of an adventure which was a source of huge pride and fascination to both the leaders and subjects of the British Empire, and a journey almost too incredible even for Shackleton.
--From the publisher's website. (20 January 2005)

About the Author:

Beau Riffenburgh is an historian specialising in exploration, particularly that of the Antarctic, Arctic, and Africa. Born in California, he earned his doctorate at Cambridge University, following which he joined the staff at the Scott Polar Research Institute, where he is the editor of Polar Record. He is the author of the highly regarded The Myth of the Explorer and is currently serving as Editor of the Encyclopedia of the Antarctic.

He is the main contributor to the text of With Scott to the Pole: The Terra Nova Expedition 1910-1913, a collection of photographs by Herbert Ponting which is the companion publication to the hugely successful and widely praised South with Endurance: The British Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917, which showcased the photographs of Frank Hurley. Click here for more information on the book.

Beau Riffenburgh's new book, Nimrod, is a dramatic account of Shackleton's 1907-09 expedition in which he showed for the first time the courage and as a leader that he would later need again on the Endurance expedition. It is published by Bloomsbury in October 2004.

Praise for Nimrod:

'A masterful balance of true drama and first-rate scholarship. The narrative moves with the speed of a novel, while the author's unerring eye for historical detail captures the essence of polar exploration and explorers and locates Shackleton and his men in the grand scheme of empire'
Sir Ranulph Fiennes

'A compelling insight into Shackleton's first ventures into Antarctica and the experiences that shaped a consummate survivor, evaluator of risk and leader of men - a fascinating story, satisfyingly told'
Diana Preston, author of A First Rate Tragedy: Captain Scott's Antarctic Expeditions.

THE PRIVATE JOURNAL OF WILLIAM REYNOLDS, UNITED STATES EXPLORING EXPEDITION, 1838-1842 by William Reynolds. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Nathaniel and Thomas Philbrick. (Penguin Classics, 2004) 334 pp., wrappers, $15. ISBN: 0-14-303905-9. Web:,,0_0143039059,00.html

Never before published--a major source for National Book Award Winner Nathaniel Philbrick's bestselling Sea of Glory.
One of the finest nineteenth-century first-person narratives of a sea voyage in existence, and a principle [sic] source for Sea of Glory, The Private Journal of William Reynolds brings to life the boisterous world traversed by the six vessels that comprised America's first ocean-going voyage of discovery--the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842. With great eloquence and verve Midshipman William Reynolds describes the harrowing 87,000-mile, four-year circuit of the globe, and relates the story of how the abusive commander of the Ex. Ex., Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, gradually lost the support of his crew. With a seaman's understanding and an artist's appreciation for the wild beauty that surrounds him, the Journal is a tour de force--combining meticulous observations with a young man's sense of wonder and, on occasion, terror as he is tossed about by the tremendous seas.
--From the publisher's webpage.
(20 January 2005)


The Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Collection has a useful website on Wilkes and the U.S. Exploring Expedition. There's a thorough discussion of the publications (1844-1874) of the expedition giving bibliographic information (prepared by Leslie K. Overstreet, Curator of Natural History Rare Books, Special Collections Department, Smithsonian Institution Libraries). More importantly, all five volumes of the Narrative are accessible as are the numerous volumes of the Scientific reports and the Plates volumes. Each page of each volume is viewable and printable but there doesn't seem to be a search function nor can a volume or portion of a volume be downloaded (as far as I can tell). Nonetheless, it's an achievement to have all this available in any format at all.
--R. Stephenson
(20 January 2005)

QUEST FOR A PHANTOM STRAIT; THE SAGA OF THE PIONEER ANTARCTIC PENINSULA EXPEDITIONS 1897-1905 by David Yelverton. Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. (Guildford, Surrey: Polar Publishing, 2004) [64] pp., wrappers, £12.99, €20, US$25. ISBN: 0-9548003-0-3. Web:

List of Illustrations and Maps
Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
1. The Belgian Antarctic Expedition 1897-1899
2. The Swedish Antarctic Expedition 1901-1903
3. The French Antarctic Expedition 1903-1905
Appendix: Historical Notes and Lists of Expedition Members
In the shadow of simmering German and Boer resentments, amid the menace of accelerating naval rearmament, the western world's leading geographers met in London in 1895 to debate the most elusive challenge still facing the world of exploration: did a seventh continent exist at the South Pole? Or was there just a polar ocean with a scattering of islands?

This is an account of three expeditions - Belgian, Swedish and French - that sailed south in response to the London conference resolution, as did Scott's Discovery, Drygalski's Gauss and Bruce's Scotia further east. Overshadowed by the later Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen dramas, the history books have forgotten them. David Yelverton puts their stories on the map of history for the first time, revealing a tale of shipwreck, starvation, illness and death, and above all of supreme personal bravery.

About the author: David E. Yelverton FRGS, a veteran of World War II, retired in 1979 after a career in engineering planning and logistics management, and has since devoted over twenty years to research into Antarctic expeditions that sailed south as the twentieth century dawned. He is well known for Antarctica Unveiled (University Press of Colorado, 2000), a definitive history of Scott's Discovery Expedition, and has catalogued the two premier collections of its photographs. He has also written articles for specialist journals and resolved some longstanding uncertainties about 'heroic age' awards of the British Polar Medal.

--From the publisher's website and the book's back cover.

SAD NOTE: David Wilson e-mailed to say that David Yelverton died on Saturday 20 November 2004. This was a week after David, Wendy Driver, Pauline Young, Joe O'Farrell and I enjoyed a two hour lunch at The Vine in Cambridge prior to the AGM of The Friends of SPRI. We went through 4 maybe 5 bottles of wine, mostly picked out by David who enjoyed his wine very much. It's a great loss to the world of Antarcticana.
--R. Stephenson
(23 November 2004)

THE ANTARCTIC JOURNALS OF REGINALD SKELTON; "ANOTHER LITTLE JOB FOR THE TINKER" by Judy Skelton. (Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing, 2004) 232 pp. Profusely illustrated, many from photographs by Skelton. £60, deluxe edition limited to 150 copies, numbered and signed, in a slipcase, £150. ISBNs 1-873877-68-4 and 1-873877-69-2. Web:

An exceedingly useful contribution to the body of first person accounts of the heroic age expeditions.
--R. Stephenson
(24 November 2004)

Contents: (some are described below)
Editor's Note
Part 1 - Dundee to Antarctica (1900 to 11th January 1902)
Part 2 - In the Ross Sea (12th January to 10th March 1902)
Part 3 - The Fading of the Light (10th March to 30th April 1902)
Part 4 - The First Winter (1st May to 31st August 1902)
Part 5 - Sledging Near and Far (1st September to 29th November 1902)
Part 6 - Discovery of the Polar Plateau (27th November 1902 to 19th January 1903)
Part 7 - Relief, but No Escape (19th January to 23rd September 1903)
Part 8 - Final Sledging, then Home Again (23rd September 19034 to 8th September 1904)
Discovery Ship's Company in the Antarctic
List of Illustrations
Reginald Skelton was Chief Engineer and Official Photographer to Captain Scott's Discovery Expedition; My memories of my grandfather are of an old, but still fit and upright, man who had a deep gravelly voice and chuckled a lot. I was only ten when he died in 1956 and he never, as far as I can remember, told me anything about his time in the Antarctic. Forty two years after his death we had, in a sense, changed places and I was getting the full story. By then into my fifties, seated in the library at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in Cambridge, I began reading the Antarctic journals of Reginald Skelton, not yet out of his twenties, who had been chosen as Scott's chief engineer on the Discovery Expedition. Directly outside the window in front of my desk was the building site which was to become the bright, airy Shackleton Memorial Library. The archivist, Bob Headland, apologised for the terrible noise of the construction work, which he feared would frustrate any attempt to concentrate, but all I could hear was the sound of the Discovery's bows scrunching through the pack ice and the howl of the Antarctic wind as the ship fought to hold her own in the teeth of storm force Southerly squalls off Coulman Island. Since then I have been back to Cambridge to read the seven volumes of Reginald Skelton's Discovery Journals, and his sledging diaries, more times than I can keep track of but every time something new catches my attention. There is a freshness in this account, written by a young man describing events even as they take place, as he experiences them without knowing what is to follow, which is lost in any retrospective telling of the tale.

Through the publication of this book I hope many other people, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to read the original journals, will be able to share the pleasure of vicarious participation in the Expedition. There is another purpose in bringing this book to the public. Skelton, whose name is by no means universally known, was, nevertheless, an important member of the Expedition and many books about Discovery include quotations from his journals. Since becoming familiar with the journals, I have found out that not all these passages are faithfully reproduced.

I am aware of at least two supposedly scholarly books which contain misquotations from Skelton's journals. Whereas innocent mistakes can be made in interpreting hand-written documents, the distortion in some instances is of an order which suggests deliberate misrepresentation. The present book gives all serious students of the history of Antarctic exploration access to the full authentic text.


- Part 1 - Dundee to Antarctica (1900 to 11th January 1902) - In which - Discovery is built, provisioned and feted before setting sail for the unknown south - the expedition reaches the Antarctic continent five months later having visited Madeira, South Trinidad, South Africa, Macquarie Island and New Zealand en route for coaling, reprovisioning, repairs and scientific purposes, being met everywhere with generosity and hospitality.

Part 2 - In the Ross Sea (12th January to 10th March 1902) - in which - Discovery steams south in search of a safe winter haven - land is discovered on the far side of the 'Great Ice Barrier', the ship reaching further East than any previous expedition - the first Antarctic flight is made by hydrogen balloon - the expedition establishes Winter Quarters in McMurdo 'Bay' to the South West of Ross Island - a number of preliminary sledging journeys are undertaken.

Part 3 - The Fading of the Light (10th March to 30th April 1902) - In which - the Cape Crozier party fails to reach the message post and the return of Barne's party ends in tragedy - the ship is frozen in and preparations are made for winter - the engineering department is kept very busy, not least by the troublesome windmill intended to light the ship through the months of darkness - the 'Great Emperor penguin hunt' provides good sport - and spirits are raised with the first issue of the 'South Polar Times'.

Part 4 - The First Winter (1st May to 31st August 1902) - In which - the windmill is finally blown to smithereens, to the relief of the engineering department - all types of scientific endeavour continue, only suspended in the wild worst of weather - Bernacchi and Skelton almost perish in a blizzard within a quarter of a mile of the ship - many forms of entertainment are devised to while away the time on board - all hands take exercise outside when they can and experience the magic of the aurora and the profound silence of calm moonlit days - preparations begin for the forthcoming sledging season.

Part 5 - Sledging Near and Far (1st September to 29th November 1902) - in which - the expedition's sledgers develop their skills, through numerous short reconnaissance and depot-laying outings, in preparation for the epic journeys to come later in the season - Royds' party succeeds in reaching the Cape Crozier message post with information of Discovery's whereabouts for the relief ship - Skelton, with Evans and Quartley, discovers the first Emperor penguin colony seen by humans and takes the first photographs of Emperor chicks - Scott's party start on their journey to explore as far South as possible - Armitage organises sports to celebrate the King's birthday.

Part 6 - Discovery of the Polar Plateau (27th November 1902 to 19th January 1903) - in which - Armitage's 12-man party, including Skelton, set out for the Western Mountains - having ascended the Blue Glacier, they find further progress blocked by high mountains.

--From the publisher's website.

PREVIOUS MENTIONS included under "Antarctic Books Due and Works-in-Progress"

Judy Skelton e-mails: "... I've reached proof-reading stage with Reginald Skelton's journals, though there's still the odd little bit of writing I've got to do yet to complete everything." Judy expects the book back from the printers by November.
(7 July 2004)

UPDATE: A flyer has been issued on Judy's upcoming book. Here's some of the relevant information: The Antarctic Journals of Reginald Skelton. Edited by Judy Skelton (granddaughter). Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing (, 2004. Illustrated hardback, ISBN: 1-873877-68-4. Also a hand-finished, leather-bound Special Limited Edition. Prices: £45 (£6 UK postage and packing); Special Limited Edition £90 (£8 UK postage and packing). Overseas surface mail £10.50. "...includes never before published --The complete text of Reginald Skelton's Antarctic journals. --Skelton's sledging diary from the "Western Journey", the first ever to reach the Antarctic polar plateau. --A selection of Skelton's photographs and other Discovery Expedition images."
All royalties will be donated to support the work of the Scott Polar Research Institute.
--R. Stephenson
(29 August 2004)

EDWARD WILSON'S NATURE NOTEBOOKS by D. W. Wilson and C J. Wilson. (Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing, 2004) 168 pp, profusely illustrated. £39.99, deluxe edition limited to 150 copies, numbered and signed, in a slipcase, £150. ISBNs 1 873877 0 6 and 1 873877 71 4. Web:

Some marvelous sketches and paintings and by no means all natural history. Also useful biographical information. There's a bit of the Antarctic here but it mainly focuses on what Wilson sketched and painted when not on his two Antarctic expeditions. Although I can see not including an index, a table of contents would have been useful.
--R. Stephenson
(24 November 2004)

Contents: (some are described below)
Editor's Notes
Part I - 1872-1904
      The Childhood Years: 1872-1891
      The Student Years: Cambridge 1891-1895
      The Student Years: London 1895-1898
      The Tuberculous Years: 1898-1901
      'Discovery' Interlude: The British Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904
Part II - 1904-1912
      Ireland: 1905
      The Grouse Disease Inquiry: 1905-1910
      The British Mammals: 1905-1910
      The British Birds: 1905-1910
      'Terra Nova' Finale: The British Antarctic Expedition 1910 -1912
Select Bibliography and Further Recommended Reading
List of Illustrations and Copyright Acknowledgements
Edward Wilson is remembered as the artist of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott. The "Terra Nova" sailed via Madeira, South Trinidad, South Africa and Australia, to New Zealand; from where she set sail for the Antarctic on 24 January 1911. During the expedition Wilson studied and drew biological specimens, and made finished watercolours. The expedition reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912 after a journey of nearly a year. On the return journey the expedition hit unseasonably bad weather and Wilson died along with team members Scott and Bowers on 29 March. The specimens, diaries and sketchbooks were recovered by the search party the following Spring.

It is probable that Edward Wilson's place in the history of art is as the last major painter of exploration art, an art form largely created by the fusion of science, cartography and art by William Hodges who had accompanied Captain Cook's second expedition from 1772-75. Hodges' work had been admired by Turner who was in turn admired by Wilson. With the death of Wilson, the major media for recording feats of exploration passed primarily to photography and film and the aesthetic technique and vision was subsumed.

Edward Wilson drew all his life, collecting his drawings into indexed volumes he called his "stock in trade". He used them as the basis for his illustrations of Barrett-Hamilton's "A History of British Mammals", and started to use them for illustrating W. Eagle Clarke's "A History of British Birds", a cancelled publication.

After his death, his wife, Oriana, arranged the notebooks and distributed many of them amongst the family. Two books - the "Nature Notebooks" were given to his nephew, Michael Wilson, whose sons have edited this volume. It contains the bulk of Edward Wilson's non-Antarctic work - from the Notebooks and other sources - reproduced here in chronological order, showing his development as an artist. There is also a selection of quotations from the Notebooks' observations and annotations, in keeping with the scrapbook flavour of many of the pages. Additionally, there is a short biography at the start of each chapter, concentrating on his scientific and artistic progress, and a selection of the Antarctic work so the reader can see the continuous artistic and scientific development. It is probable that Edward Wilson's place in the history of art is as the last major painter of exploration art, an art form largely created by the fusion of science, cartography and art by William Hodges who had accompanied Captain Cook's second expedition from 1772-75. Hodges' work had been admired by Turner who was in turn admired by Wilson. With the death of Wilson, the major media for recording feats of exploration passed primarily to photography and film and the aesthetic technique and vision was subsumed.

Edward Wilson drew all his life, collecting his drawings into indexed volumes he called his "stock in trade". He used them as the basis for his illustrations of Barrett-Hamilton's "A History of British Mammals", and started to use them for illustrating W. Eagle Clarke's "A History of British Birds", a cancelled publication.

After his death, his wife, Oriana, arranged the notebooks and distributed many of them amongst the family. Two books - the "Nature Notebooks" were given to his nephew, Michael Wilson, whose sons have edited this volume. It contains the bulk of Edward Wilson's non-Antarctic work - from the Notebooks and other sources - reproduced here in chronological order, showing his development as an artist. There is also a selection of quotations from the Notebooks' observations and annotations, in keeping with the scrapbook flavour of many of the pages. Additionally, there is a short biography at the start of each chapter, concentrating on his scientific and artistic progress, and a selection of the Antarctic work so the reader can see the continuous artistic and scientific development.

--From the publisher's website.

PREVIOUS MENTIONS included under "Antarctic Books Due and Works-in-Progress"
David Wilson e-mailed recently: "My brother Christopher and I have started work on a large book of Uncle's [Edward A. Wilson] British wildlife and landscape artwork--his 'Nature Notebooks'--as he called them--along with his works on British Mammals and Birds, which have been largely neglected. This should be similar in format to 'Discovery Illustrated' and we hope we will get it out next year (2004)--but it is a large and expensive project, so we will have to see.

UPDATE: "'Edward Wilson's Nature Notebooks', (which I am doing with my brother Chris) proceeds apace--and we are hoping that it will be out by November."
(28 May 2004)

UPDATE: David sent me the flyer for the new book. Here's some relevant information: Edward Wilson's Nature Notebooks by D.M. Wilson and C.J. Wilson. Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing (, 2004. Illustrated hardback, 168pp, ISBN: 1-873877-70-6. Special Limited Edition: Hand-finished, leather-bound, boxed, numbered, and signed by the editors. Limited to 150 copies. ISBN: 1-873877-71-4. Prices: £39.95 (£6 UK postage and packing); Special Limited Edition £100 (£8 UK postage and packing). Overseas surface mail £10.50. "Edward Wilson is long remembered as the heroic artist of Captain Scott's Antarctic expeditions; we are pleased to present a biographical selection of 500 images from his forgotten sketchbooks. The royalties from this book will be shared between Edward Wilson memorial projects."
David hopes to see the book issued by early November.
--R. Stephenson
(29 August 2004)

WITH SCOTT TO THE POLE: THE TERRA NOVA EXPEDITION 1910-1913. THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HERBERT PONTING. From the archives of the Royal Geographical Society and the Scott Polar Research Institute. Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004) 240 pp. Profusely illustrated. £35. ISBN 0-7475-6968-1. Web:

Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Chapter One - The Road to the Pole (Beau Riffenburgh and Liz Cruwys)
Chapter Two - Scott's Fateful Expedition (Beau Riffenburgh and Liz Cruwys)
Chapter Three - A Tale of Endurance and Courage Beau Riffenburgh and Liz Cruwys)
Portfolio: Selected Photographs
Chapter Four - Antarctic Pioneer (H. J. P. ("Douglas") Arnold)
Gallery: An Illustrated Catalogue
Picture Acknowledgements
A companion publication to the hugely successful and widely praised South with Endurance: The British Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917, which showcased the photographs of Frank Hurley.
'Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell...which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our bodies must tell the tale.' --Robert Falcon Scott's 'message to the public' c. 29 March 1912
Through Beau Riffenburgh's narrative and the perfectly composed images of Herbert Ponting, With Scott to the Pole tells the story of the triumph and tragedy of Scott's 1910-13 expedition to the South Pole. Along with four companions, the explorer reached the pole only to be bitterly disappointed to discover the Norwegian flag planted there by Roald Amundsen. Scott and his men could no longer hope to secure the first attainment of the South Pole for the British Empire, and their despondency shows in the photographs that survived them. Yet with grit and courage they started on the 800 mile return from the pole. A harrowing time ensued. By the time they were within 11 miles of a depot which would have saved them they had already lost two members of the expedition, and it was at this point that Scott and his remaining two companions were overcome by a blizzard and died.
With Scott to the Pole is a fitting tribute not only to Ponting's spell-binding aesthetic vision, but also to a magnificent story of adventure and heroism.

--From the publisher's website.

JAMES WORDIE POLAR CRUSADER; EXPLORING THE ARCTIC AND ANTARCTIC by Michael Smith. (Edinburgh: Berlinn Limited, 2004) 371 pp, £25. ISBN 1 84158 292 1. Web:

Michael Smith's third major polar book: Crean, Oates and now Wordie. His next will be on Francis Crozier. I look forward to reading the Wordie book as the subject is not well known to me. This probably goes for most Antarcticans, too.
--R. Stephenson
(25 November 2004)

List of Maps and Illustrations
Preface xvii 1 Lairds and carts
2 From gold to ice
3 To the Antarctic
4 'The fates are against us . . .'
5 Cast adrift
6 The open boat journey
7 Marooned on Elephant Island
8 Closing ranks
9 The Western Front
10 With Bruce to Spitsbergen
11 Conquering the Beerenberg
12 A new era
13 Both ends of the world
14 On Greenland's unknown shores
15 Perils on Petermann Peak
16 Hopes dashed
17 A last Arctic voyage
18 Top secret
19 A gift for intrigue
20 Final days
Chronology: James Mann Wordie 1889-1962
Appendix: James Mann Wordie, Weddell Sea Log, 1914-16
Sir James Mann Wordie, born in Glasgow in 1889, was the elder statesman of polar exploration - the link between the heroic Edwardian Age of Shackleton and Scott and the mechanised modern era which opened up Antarctica and the Arctic. The remarkable life of one of Scotland's greatest heroes remains surprisingly little known; although resolute and ambitious (perhaps even scheming), he shunned publicity and popular fame. Wordie's career as both explorer and academic geologist opened with his participation in Shackleton's epic Endurance expedition of 1914-16, where he proved one of the most resilient of those stranded in appalling conditions on Elephant Island. He continued to lead arduous expeditions to the Arctic well into his forties, while building his reputation as an academic and mentor to new generations of explorers and mountaineers. During and after the Second World War he was instrumental in safeguarding British strategic interests in the Antarctic territories, and later rose to be President of the Royal Geographical Society and Master of St John's College, Cambridge. He died in 1962.

This is the first full biography of Wordie to be written, and it makes use of a wide variety of official sources, of the personal recollections of family, friends and colleagues, and of previously unpublished papers and diaries, most notably those of Wordie himself, including the log he kept of the Endurance expedition. It is illustrated throughout with photographs taken on Wordie's numerous expeditions, many of them previously unpublished.

Michael Smith's book captures all the drama of an extraordinary life lived at the edge and will go a long way in establishing James Wordie in his rightful place in the pantheon of great British explorers.

• 1914-17 member of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition • 1919/20 Expeditions to Spitsbergen • 1921 Expedition to Jan Mayen Island and first ascent of Beerenberg • 1923 Leads expedition to East Greenland • 1926 Leads second expedition to Greenland • 1929 Further expedition to Greenland • 1934 Expedition to Greenland and Baffin Bay • 1937 Expedition to Greenland and Canadian Arctic • 1946 Sails to Antarctic Dependencies.

Michael Smith was a political and business journalist for over thirty years with The Guardian, The Observer and the Evening Standard, and his contributed to numerous TV and radio documentaries. He has written two other books on polar exploration - An Unsung Hero, a biography of the Irish explorer Tom Crean (2001) which has sold over 50,000 copies in hardback and paperback editions, and I Am Just Going Outside, a biography of Captain Lawrence Oates (2002). He lives in London.

--From the publisher's website

UPDATE: Polar Crusader: Sir James Wordie--Exploring the Arctic and Antarctic is now out in paperback according to its publisher, Birlinn. Here are the details:
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd; 2Rev Ed edition (1 April 2007)
ISBN-10: 1841585432
ISBN-13: 978-1841585437
The price is £9.99
--R. Stephenson
(9 May 2007)

PREVIOUS MENTIONS included under "Antarctic Books Due and Works-in-Progress"
From a recent e-mail from Michael Smith, author of the well-received An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor and I Am Just Going Outside [see 'Antarctic Book Notes' elsewhere on this site for reviews]:
"James Wordie, the chief of scientific staff on Endurance, is the subject of a new book by author, Michael Smith.
Wordie became the elder statesman of British Polar exploration, travelling on nine expeditions and was involved in the first climbing of Everest and the first crossing of Antarctica--the initial target of the Endurance venture. Wordie was also Chairman of the Scott Polar Research Institute, President of the Royal Geographical Society and Chairman of the British Mountaineering Council.
Michael Smith would like to hear from those with recollections or information about Wordie."
(6 March 2003)

UPDATE: From recent e-mails from Michael:

"Books: Wordie publication date still not finalised, but last heard of was expected in July. I have not seen proofs yet. The book is around 130,000 words and will incorporate a lengthy edited version of Wordie's Endurance/Elephant Island diary which has not been widely seen before. The diary is fascinating.

I have also been commissioned to write a children's version of Shackleton's life. The Tom Crean kids book went down very well and I am aiming to repeat the task. [It] is still being written. I would anticipate launch (in Ireland) during the autumn/fall but this, too, not yet finalised."

(28 January 2004)

UPDATE: Michael has sent along the following blurb on his upcoming book:

"Key extracts from the unpublished diary kept by James Wordie on Endurance and on Elephant Island are contained in the first-ever biography of Wordie, which will be published in September. Author Michael Smith was given full access to Wordie's private papers and documents for his new biography which sheds fresh light on the expedition and Wordie's loyalty to Shackleton long after the explorer's death. Michael Smith decided to include substantial chunks of Wordie's 1914-16 journal in the book because of the importance of the diary to the overall understanding of the expedition. The entries made during the confinement on Elephant Island are particularly powerful. Wordie, a geologist, was chief of scientific staff on Endurance, though Shackleton only appointed him on the day before the expedition was disbanded. He became a dedicated supporter of Shackleton, including acting as Secretary of the Shackleton Memorial Fund which led to the explorer's statue being erected at the Royal Geographical Society. Endurance was the first of Wordie's nine major expeditions to the ice, including eight journeys to the Arctic in the '20s and 30s. He went back to Elephant Island in 1947 but did not land and made his final voyage to the Polar regions in 1954 at the age of 65. He was involved in the founding of the Scott Polar Research Institute and operated as chairman for 18 years. Wordie became a key adviser to Vivian Fuchs on the first-ever crossing of the Antarctic Continent, the ambition of Shackleton's expedition 40 years earlier. He was also President of the RGS and a key influence in the conquest of Everest in 1953. Wordie was knighted in 1957 for services to Polar exploration. Polar Crusader by Michael Smith will be published by Birlinn, priced at £25."
(22 June 2004)

UPDATE: Polar Crusader: Sir James Wordie--Exploring the Arctic and Antarctic is out and I saw a copy a few days ago in London but it's not due in the shops I checked until tomorrow.
--R. Stephenson
(29 September 2004)

THE WIDE WHITE PAGE; WRITERS IMAGINE ANTARCTICA Edited by Bill Manhire. (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2004) 327 pp., wrappers, NZ$34.95 postpaid. ISBN 0-86476-485-9. Web: Publication date: 4 November 2004.

"One of New Zealand's most important poets, Bill Manhire is also known internationally as a teacher of creative writing. In the small spaces left between teaching and writing, Bill also finds time for reading and in this case, about one of his favourite places--Antarctica.

THE WIDE WHITE PAGE is the kind of book only a real enthusiast would compile. He's searched far and wide for the best fictional accounts of Antarctica, and mined such rich imaginative veins as Dante's "Death of Ulysses", Ursula Le Guin's "Sur" and Monty Python's "Scott of the Sahara". With an intelligent and entertaining introduction, THE WIDE WHITE PAGE 'mostly makes room for authors who have never been to Antarctica'. Bill however has been, and has even spent "45 semi-heroic minutes at the South Pole".

Bill Manhire's many books include his "Collected Poems" (VUP and Carcanet, 2001), "Doubtful Sounds: Essays and Interviews (VUP, 2000), and his memoir of growing up in the pubs of New Zealand's South Island, "Under the Influence" (Four Winds Press, 2003). After a lifelong fascination with Antarctica, Bill visited the frozen continent as part of the inaugural Antarctica New Zealand Artists to Antarctica expedition in 1998--camping in the Dry Valleys and alongside Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds, and visiting the South Pole. Bill is the director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. In 2004 he has been the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellow in Menton, France."
--From a press release issued by the publisher.

Dante / The Death of Ulysses
Joseph Hall / from Another World and Yet the Same
Robert Paltock / A Gawrey Extended for Flight
Thomas Perry/ Song
Samuel Taylor Coleridge / from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Edgar Allan Poe / from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
Jules Verne / from An Antarctic Mystery
Valery Bryusov / The Republic of the Southern Cross
Georg Heym / The Travellers to the South Pole
Ursula K. Le Guin / Sur
John Martin Leahy / In Amundsen's Tent
Edward Wilson / The Barrier Silence
Dorothy Porter / Wilson's Diary
Chris Orsman / The Photographer in the Antarctic
Chris Orsman / The Ice Fleet Sails
Robert Falcon Scott / Impressions on the March
Derek Mahon / Antarctica
Glyn Maxwell / Edward Wilson
Douglas Stewart / from The Fire on the Snow
Vladimir Nabokov / The Pole
Anne Michaels / Ice House
James Brown / Diary Extracts from Scott's Voyage to Discover the West Pole
Monty Python / Scott of the Sahara
Melinda Mueller / Crean. Night Watch
Melinda Mueller / What the Ice Gets: 23-29 October 1915
H.P. Lovecraft / from At the Mountains of Madness
Henry Hart / Byrd in Antarctica
Ern Malley / The Creation of Antarctic Light
Michael Chabon / from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Denis Glover / 'How Doth My Good Cousin Silence?'
Owen Marshall / The Frozen Continents
Laurence Fearnley / The Piper and the Penguin
Tony Kushner / from Angels in America
Kim Stanley Robinson / Michel in Antarctica
Kim Stanley Robinson / A Site of Special Scientific Interest
Pablo Neruda / Antarctic Stones
Bill Manhire / Visiting Mr Shackleton
Some Works Cited or Consulted
This is an excellent anthology which fills a real gap. Many of these selections will be new even to the most knowledgeable Antarctican. The 23 pages of notes are useful and illuminating.
--R. Stephenson
(30 October 2004)

POLAR CASTAWAYS; THE ROSS SEA PARTY (1914-17) OF SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON Richard McElrea and David Harrowfield. (Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2004) 315 pp., illustrations, NZ$49.95. ISBN 1-877257-26-5

This long-awaited treatment of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party has impressed polar historians, based on several e-mails I've received recently. I've just started the book and it seems very well done. There's a lot of depth and the years of research show (the Notes total 28 pages). Nearly all the photos will be new to the reader. The six-page bibliography will prove useful to future researchers.
--R. Stephenson
(13 August 2004)

Foreword [by the late R. W. Richards, GC]
1. An expedition to cross Antarctica
2. The Ionic contingent: Australian preparations
3. 'God-speed and a safe return. . .'
4. Voyages to the ice
5. Laying the Bluff depot
6. Farthest south--1915
7. Support parties--autumn 1915
8. 'The dead dog trail'
9. Sanctuary reached
10. 'A glimpse of hell'
11. Crossing to Cape Evans
12. Aurora under siege
13. 'A new heaven and a new earth'
14. Journey to Mt Hope
15. Aurora breaks free
16. Return from Mt Hope
17. Death of the Padre
18. Deaths of Mackintosh and Hayward
19. Apparent treachery
20. Dismissal of Stenhouse
21. 'Marooned on a desert island'
22. 'Like wild men'
23. Inquiry
24. Fêted, honoured and forgotten
Christchurch Press. Saturday. July 24, 2004 FOLLY ON THE ICE Christchurch lawyer and coroner Richard McElrea has a passion for Antarctica, which he has channelled into a new book on the ill-fated and forgotten Ross Sea Party, MIKE CREAN reports. Beneath his earnest and courteous manner, Christchurch Coroner Richard McElrea harbours a passion for the Antarctic. The 48-year-old admits it may come as a surprise to his colleagues in the law. And he concedes few would remember his visit to the ice 33 years ago. Few would know of his voracious reading about Antarctica over five decades and his extensive library on it. Few would have known how he beavered away over much of the last 30 years writing a benchmark history of an important and dramatic episode on the ice. All that activity culminated yesterday in the launch of Polar Castaways, which McElrea co-authored with David Harrowfield, for the Canterbury University Press. Polar Castaways closes the gap in the jigsaw of stories covering the romantic age of polar exploration. With the meticulous attention to detail expected of a coroner, McElrea tells of the forgotten Ross Sea Party, which laid supply depots for Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to complete the first trans-Antarctic crossing, during World War 1. The Ross Sea expedition went tragically wrong. Their ship, Aurora, was damaged breaking its moorings and the expedition stranded a group of ill-equipped men on the ice for two winters, while Aurora limped to New Zealand for repairs. Three of the group died and all suffered terrible privations before the Aurora returned on a controversial relief mission. McElrea says the expedition was plagued by poor planning and under-resourcing. It was futile anyway: unbeknown to the men who made the heroic efforts to set up supply depots, Shackleton had aborted his expedition in the Weddell Sea, on the far side of the continent. When McElrea began his research in the 1970s, three of the Ross Sea Party members were still alive. Determined to use primary sources wherever possible - so that distorted myths could be corrected - he met and interviewed them. Some of the material he discloses in this book is new and enlightening. A student teacher sparked McElrea's interest in Antarctica when he was an eight-year-old in Dunedin, with a lesson on Scott's expeditions. The youngster was hooked from that day. An aunt noticed it and encouraged him further with the loan of Shackleton's The Heart of the Antarctic. No wonder, when invited to choose a book as a class prize at Otago Boy's High School eight years later, he opted for Alfred Lansing's Endurance, an account of Shackleton's expedition. Family life was conducive to his passion. He heard his elders speaking of Port Chalmers' significant connection with Scott and Shackleton. Regular family tramping trips, camping and skiing in the Wakatipu area and membership of the Boy Scouts groomed McElrea for the great outdoors. Moving to Christchurch in 1969, he joined the New Zealand Antarctic Society. It chose him to spend two weeks in Antarctica in late 1971, working as a volunteer on restoration of the Cape Royds, Cape Evans and Hut Point huts, all of which were used by Scott and Shackleton. His only disappointment was that, after corresponding with pre-eminent Les Quartermain of Wellington, they never met. Quartermain called on McElrea just hours after McElrea had taken off for Antarctica, then died before the visit could be returned. This two weeks on the ice made a deep impression on McElrea. "The colours, the sea and ice and mountainscape, were so vivid, it was as if it were only yesterday I was there. It impressed itself so much on my memory, I have very vivid memories of my time there." Yet he admits to "no particular hankering" to go back. If the opportunity arose, he would take it, though he would prefer to go by ship - to experience something of the early expeditions. "That voyage would be very special." McElrea says his interest in Antarctica is compatible with his duties as a coroner. The Ross Sea Dependency lies within his professional area and he occasionally deals with cases of sudden death there. The disciplines of his work were ideal for researching and writing the book, he says, "It's an analysis of facts based on best evidence, and the opportunity to make comment without being too judgemental in approach." McElrea began the book in response to a challenge in Margery and James Fisher's biography of Shackleton, in which they noted the lack of in-depth coverage of the Ross Sea Party. McElrea wrote most of the book before his appointment as coroner but "substantially re-worked it" over the last four years. He acknowledges that Shackleton's story has gained wide popularity in recent years, with books, TV shows and films. The epic tale of a man of charisma, lionised by the general population but ridiculed by a small "inner circle", and his incredible rescue, "will be remembered as a great story in history," The Ross Sea story has many of the same elements: men pitted against almost insurmountable odds, endurance through staggering hardship, death and psychological breakdown, achievement against odds, the irony of their efforts being futile and the resentment that followed. McElrea retains his boyhood admiration for the flawed hero Shackleton. He asserts that, on evidence, Shackleton could have crossed the Antarctic. But another 40 years would pass before the feat was accomplished, when Sir Vivian Fuchs crossed Antarctica, with Sir Edmund Hillary's latter-day Ross Sea Party laying the supply depots.

--Sent along by John Splettstoesser
(25 July 2004)

PREVIOUS MENTIONS included under "Antarctic Books Due and Works-in-Progress"

John Thomson e-mails to say: "...there is a new book coming out on the Aurora adventure in the Ross Sea. It is by David Harrowfield and will be published by Canterbury University Press in Christchurch, NZ. David, I understand, has been working on this for many years, seeking only primary sources from which to develop it."
(29 November 2002)

UPDATE: Efforts have been made to get more information on the status of David's project but with no success.
(6 March 2003)

UPDATE: Dave Hood pointed me to where I found the following details under Forthcoming Title:

POLAR CASTAWAYS: The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton. by Richard McElrea & David Harrowfield

When Sir Ernest Shackleton's dream of crossing Antarctica foundered with his ship Endurance in the ice of the Weddell Sea in October 1915, he doubtless wondered how this would affect his support party on the other side of the continent. He could not communicate with them and tell them no longer to proceed.

The task of the Ross Sea party was to lay the vital depots to support Shackleton's traverse party. Theirs was a hard task. They were under-financed, inadequately prepared--and unlucky. In May 1915, shortly after arriving at Cape Evans on Ross Island, their ship Aurora was blown out to sea from its moorings, and drifted in ice for nearly a year before it could be freed. Ten men were left ashore, completely isolated from the outside world, and without proper equipment and supplies. Notwithstanding, they remained true to their responsibilities and laid depots across the Ross Ice Shelf to Mt Hope, but at great personal hardship and cost.

Remarkably, after some 85 years, this book is the first in-depth account of the Ross Sea Party, the drift of the Aurora and the relief expedition under the command of polar veteran Captain J. K. Davis. The book fills one of the last major gaps in the literature of the 'heroic era' of polar exploration. It has been written almost entirely from primary sources and includes a number of photographs never previously published, as well as maps and other illustrations.


Richard McElrea is a lawyer and coroner. He was a New Zealand Antarctic Society hut caretaker in Antarctica in 1971. He is a past president of the New Zealand Antarctic Society and past chairman of the Antarctic Heritage Trust. He is associate editor of Shackleton's Lieutenant, the Nimrod Diary of A.L.A. Macintosh, British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09, edited by Stanley Newman (Polar Publications 1990).

David Harrowfield was formerly Antarctic Curator at Canterbury Museum, Executive Officer of the Antarctic Heritage Trust and Research Officer, Antarctic, at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch. He has made numerous visits to Antarctica and has published widely on conservation of historic sites. He now runs South Latitude Research Ltd and is a member of the Antarctic Heritage Trust Conservation Advisory Group. In 1995 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to study historic site preservation in the Arctic.

Both authors have undertaken detailed research on this expedition over more than ten years. They have interviewed and corresponded with veterans since deceased, and undertaken field work at the historic sites in Antarctica that feature in this book.

Publication: Mid-2003
ISBN 1-877257-25-7 Paperback
ISBN 1-877257-26-5 Hardback
RRP $59.95 (approx) hardback; $39.95 (approx) paperback
230 x 150 mm; 300 pp (approx); 50 b/w photos, 4-colour maps

--R. Stephenson
(19 April 2003)

UPDATE: From an e-mail from Kaye Godfrey of the Canterbury University Press: "...the book is almost to production stage, and we are now noting on our website that it is due out late 2003, we hope around October or November. The price is not yet confirmed, but will be around NZD $65 (plus postage/packaging for international orders.)
(30 June 2003)

UPDATE: Also doing a book on the Ross Sea Party is Kelly Tyler (who was involved in the Shackleton IMAX production et al). [See below.]
--R. Stephenson
(9 November 2003)

UPDATE: The website of the Canterbury University Press now lists the publication date as April 2004. Also, now 320 pp (approximately), 32 pages of photographs, 4 pages of colour maps.
--R. Stephenson
(8 January 2004)

UPDATE: The website now lists the publication date as July 2004. Price now given as NZ$49.95.
--R. Stephenson
(26 June 2004)

--R. Stephenson
(12 August 2004)

SOME ANTARCTIC E-BOOKS Several Antarctic titles are available as free e-books through The Online Books Page at

In the site's "About Us" section, one learns that "The Online Books Page is a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet. It also aims to encourage the development of such online books, for the benefit and edification of all. Major parts of the site include: 1) An index of thousands of online books freely readable on the Internet. 2) Pointers to significant directories and archives of online texts. 3) Special exhibits of particularly interesting classes of online books. 4) Information on how readers can help support the growth of online books. The Online Books Page was founded, and is edited, by John Mark Ockerbloom. He is a digital library planner and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He is solely responsible for the content of the site. The site is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Library, who provides the server, disk space, and network bandwidth for the site. They also employ the editor, and support him in his various digital library activities (of which this is but one). The online books listed on this page have been authored, placed online, and hosted, by a wide variety of individuals and groups throughout the world (and throughout history!)."

There's a search function (author, title) and a 'browse by subject category' function.

I was able to find and view or download the following Antarctic titles:

The Voyages of Captain Scott, by Charles Turley. (Project Gutenberg Release #6721.

South!, by Sir Ernest Shackleton. (Project Gutenberg Release #5199.

The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen (Project Gutenberg Release #4229.

The Home of the Blizzard, by Douglas Mawson (Project Gutenberg Release #6137.

The etext can be downloaded or viewed in your browser in various formats such as Plain text, Zipped plain text, Accented text, Zipped accented text, HTML, Zipped HTML.

These are all Project Gutenberg releases. What's that and how does it relate to The Online Books Page? I'm not entirely sure but this is what Project Gutenberg's website has to say: "Project Gutenberg is the Internet's oldest producer of free electronic books (eBooks or etexts). Our present collection of more than 10.000 eBooks was produced by hundreds of volunteers. Most of the Project Gutenberg eBooks are older literary works that are in the public domain in the United States. All may be freely downloaded and read, and redistributed for non-commercial use (for complete details, see the license page)."

These e-books are useful for researchers in that one can search the text for various words and subjects.

—R. Stephenson
(1 April 2004)

UPDATE: Searching Project Gutenberg under 'Antarctic' resulted in 19 titles, the most frequently downloaded being The Worst Journey in the World.
—R. Stephenson
(24 March 2012)

THE AMERCAN ON THE ENDURANCE; ICE, SEAS, AND TERRA FIRMA ADVENTURES OF WILLIAM L. BAKEWELL Edited by Elizabeth Anna Bakewell Rajala. (Munising, Michigan: Dukes Hall Publishing, 2004) 204 pp., illustrations, wrappers, $18/£13 postpaid. ISBN 0-9749134-0-5. [832 West Onota Street, Munising, Michigan 49862. Tel: 906-387-1508. Email:]. Now available at
Preface--A Man on the Bus by William L. Bakewell
Prologue by Elizabeth Anna Bakewell Rajala
Introduction by Rand Shackleton
From Boy to Man
    Chapter 1 - Leaving Home for the Unknown
    Chapter 2 - Chasing Dreams
    Chapter 3 - Montana Days
To Sea
    Chapter 4 - Time at Sea
    Chapter 5 - The Endurance
    Chapter 6 - Life on the Ice
    Chapter 7 - Lifeboats Take to the Sea
    Chapter 8 - Elephant Island
Terra Firma
    Chapter 9 - Patagonia
    Chapter 10 - Reunited with "Red"
Return to Sea and WWI
    Chapter 11 - Adventures at Sea
    Chapter 12 - Fire and Torpedoes
    Chapter 13 - Sailing: Hot and Cold
Homeward Bound
    Chapter 14 - Proving Citizenship
    Chapter 15 - Sailing Ceases
Epilogue - A Bird's Eye View of Dad's Life
My Hero, Will by Matthew W. Roop
William Bakewell's Chronological Dates
These are Bakewell's memoirs, transcribed and edited by his daughter Elizabeth (who also adds an epilogue). They begin with his leaving home at 15 and include many interesting adventures and travels and, of course, his participation in the Endurance expedition. There are some interesting family photographs which presumably are appearing for the first time. Although the production of this self published effort is qualitatively challenged, it is nonetheless a worthy addition to the growing Shackleton literature.
--R. Stephenson
(26 June 2004)

DUE SOUTH: AN ANTARCTIC JOURNAL John Kelly. (Oxford: Signal Books Ltd. [36 Minster Road, Oxford OX4 1LY, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1865 724856. Email:], 2004) 64 pp., illustrations, wrappers, £4.99. Publication date: 25 March 2004. ISBN 1-902669-90-8. Web:
"Due South catalogues moments in time experienced during a journey to Antarctica, the last great wilderness. As selected artist with the British Antarctic Survey, my work is an attempt to present the reality of Antarctica, not simply a visual record, but an account of the emotions and fleeting thoughts of life in the 'freezer'.
Increasingly I became aware of the great migration of life at the margin. The vast movement of wildlife within the air and the sea, dictated by the seasons and by the great exodus of life to the north with the first storms of winter.
The confrontation with the sublime on such a scale was only possible due to that 'silent sea' of the inner self, into which one could retreat for shelter and reflection. And so it was that I turned to the sketch book and journal."
Illustrated with photographs and line drawings, Due South is an evocative and personal account of an individual's encounter with Antarctica. Published to coincide with exhibitions at the Natural History Museum (24 February-1 August 2004) and the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum (23 January-6 March 2005), it mixes text and image to recreate the extreme experience of the Antarctic landscape.
JOHN KELLY is an artist and writer, whose work includes photography, drawing and the use of objects. He has travelled widely within North Africa and has produced a number of exhibitions on this and other themes. He was selected artist for the British Antarctic Survey in 2003.
--From an e-mail from the publisher.
(3 March 2004)

ANTARCTICA: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA FROM ABBOTT ICE SHELF TO ZOOPLANKTON Edited by Mary Trewby. (Toronto, Ontario: Firefly Books Ltd. 2002) 208 pp, color and black & white illustrations. Canadian$35. ISBN 1-55297-590-8.


ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ANTARCTICA AND THE SOUTHERN OCEANS Edited by Bernard Stonehouse. (Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley, 2002) 391 pp, color maps, black & white illustrations. $350. ISBN 0-471-98665-8.

The following reviews appeared in Arctic, March and May-June 2003 issues. Written by John Splettstoesser and included here with his permission.

It is possible that one can have too many coffee-table books on Antarctica, with pretty photographs and narrative to cover the usual subjects, such as wildlife, history, politics, science, tourism, and so on, but I recommend just one or two more to appeal to the Antarctophile. The price for Trewby's book is right, and so is the content. I'll treat that one first, and make comparisons between it and the book by Stonehouse below. [Mary] Trewby's book is appropriately named 'An Encyclopedia,' for it compiles words common to Antarctica in alphabetical order. The objective is an effort to provide readers with brief descriptions of many of the terms that appear in the literature related to Antarctica. It does the job very well. It was produced by the award-winning documentary company Natural History New Zealand, with the input of the 18 Consulting Editors listed on p. 6. All are from New Zealand, are experts in their fields, and are associated with Government departments, academic institutions or companies. Two maps (Physical, Political) are shown in the introductory material, and the word/term entries start on p. 12 and end on p. 203. The alphabetical entries are broken up by lengthier descriptions of six additional sections for more detailed information--Antarctic Treaty, Dry Valleys, Exploration, Icebergs, Penguins, and South Pole. A useful addition to many entries is that of words or terms in all capital letters as referrals to entries described elsewhere.

The A to Z entries are followed by a half-page of photographic credits, a page listing a Selected Bibliography, a list of 34 useful websites, and a 4-page Index. The paper is glossy, with high-quality reproduction of photographs.

A generous inclusion of photographs, most in color and some in black-and-white (historical and expeditions) can be found on nearly every page, to illustrate features related to the alphabetical entries. Less space could have been used for what might be called incidental or borderline relevance, but the photos are of high quality and scenic in many cases. A few can be categorized as misleading or in need of additional explanation--e.g. the photo of the 'Arctic tern' on p. 23 shows the bird with a two-egg clutch. Either the bird is actually an Arctic tern, photographed in the Arctic, or an Antarctic tern. On page 127 the 'ancient moraine formed by a granite escarpment' is difficult to decipher--marks on the photo would be useful to show what is described. Identification of giant petrels missed something, having the southern variety with a reddish color to the bill tip, and greenish for the northern (the reverse is true), and the southern having a white 'phase' instead of 'morph.' The photo of stratified coal (p. 51) shows primarily Ferrar sills in sedimentary rocks, but if one doesn't know where to look for the coal (almost invisible at this distance), the sills could lead one to think they are coal beds. The photo of Mount Erebus (p. 174) is a reverse image--Erebus Glacier Tongue is on the 'wrong' side of Hut Point Peninsula.

The two maps have a few minor errors as well. The Political map has misspellings (Marambio and Novolazarevskaya), Port Martin base (France) is about 60° of longitude west of its proper location, and Byrd Station (U.S.) is quite a distance from where it was built (80°S, 120°W). None of these amounts to distractions, but it does foretell a number of minor 'gremlins' in the entries, a trait that few books can eliminate totally, even with the aid of spelling-checkers and fact-checking. I will only mention a few, but also invite authors/editors of the volume to contact me ( if they are contemplating a further edition (many entries have information/figures/etc. as of the year 2000 and 2001). I will send them my list by electronic mail of about 150 awkward sightings of things like misspellings (many), typos of various kinds, erroneous information, inconsistencies, and so on. (I have a comparable list for errors found in Stonehouse's book.) In my effort to provide a thorough review, I read the entire contents, not for nit-picking purposes, but because it is interesting. What I found is by no means representative of the whole book, or of the value of its contents of about 1,000 entries and 250 photographs. It has considerable value in assembling virtually all the words and terms that are found in the literature and when visiting research stations (the entry 'Vocabulary' is particularly enlightening). Descriptions of expeditions are brief, but useful in describing what happened and when.

Suggestions for discussion by the editors for a future edition include a few additional words in the Index--Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts; Euphausia superba (oddly enough, not mentioned anywhere in the book); growlers are listed, but not Bergy Bits; Procellariiformes; tube-nosed. An entry that puzzled me a bit is 'bicycles'. I thought the description would be its use by Edward Wilson on Scott's expedition. Not so. Interesting, but it invites lots of other terms that could fall into the dilemma of "What to include, what to exclude?" As a geologist, I came across a 'howler' worth remembering. Bounty Islands (p. 39) "are not volcanic but are solid BEDROCK OUTCROPS scattered over the ocean surface." (No mention of what makes them buoyant.)

This book will be of interest to anyone with a collection of polar books, not only Antarctic because of the usage of terms for either region, but also anyone with few or no books on Antarctica. The low price is difficult to ignore, and it makes a handsome addition to a coffee table. The cover photos demand that anyone looking at it will pick it up. It is a required purchase for libraries as well.

This encyclopedia by renowned polar specialist in biology, Dr. Bernard Stonehouse, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, U.K., is probably the most complete and true encyclopedia of any on the market, past or present. His version is pricier, but there are distinct advantages to it over Trewby's book. The Stonehouse book has about 300 more entries, but also has no color photos. The smaller photos and numerous maps in Stonehouse's book thus yield to additional text, which includes six appendixes on Antarctic Treaty Measures and Conventions and the complete content of the Environmental Protocol and Antarctic Treaty, all of which are significant in the successful management of Antarctica and its fragile fauna and flora. In addition, eight Study Guides (Climate and Life; Exploration; Geography; Geology and Glaciology; Information Sources; National Interests in Antarctica; Protected Areas Under the Antarctic Treaty; and Southern Oceans and Islands) provide summaries of those topics by including some of the entries in the A to Z section (p. 1-297, from Aagaard to Zumberge Coast). This approach to an encyclopedia and its entries provides a pathway to actual use of the definitions. The final 13 pages consist of a list of all encyclopedic entries, from A to Z by title and page number for quick location in the text. A section on Further Reading is a bibliography of 5 pages. The entries themselves are each headed by large, boldface black type, making it easier to scan than the smaller type of blue headings in Trewby's book. Stonehouse has included color maps between p. 180 and 181, consisting of the Antarctic Peninsula, with an inset of the South Shetland Islands that have a plethora of Treaty Party stations on them; and a foldout map of the entire continent. Major features are labeled, and the colors distinguish between the mainland, rock exposures, and attached ice shelves.

As Trewby has done, Stonehouse has also enlisted contributors (28), nearly all from U.K., and advisory editors (6), all of them experts in their respective fields of interest. If there was a choice of one versus the other, and if price was no object, I would choose Stonehouse's book. With a little extra money, though, you can have them both, as each has its place on the bookshelf of individuals who often need to refer to a book of this nature to look up a name, date, or place. Libraries will certainly want both of them. A second edition of either book in paperback binding would be advantageous as a means of reducing the price, and would also allow incorporating correction of the errors found in each book.

--Courtesy of John Splettstoesser
(1 March 2004)

EXPLORING POLAR FRONTIERS: A HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, December 2003) 2 volumes, 797 pp. 8-1/2 by 11 inch format. $185; Ebook $200; Both $290. ISBN 1-57607-422-6. Web:

From the publisher's website:

Covers the entire history of Arctic and Antarctic exploration, from the voyage of Pytheas ca. 325 B.C. to the present, in one convenient, comprehensive, reference resource. The next decade will see centennial celebrations marking the heroic age of the great polar explorers: Robert Falcon Scott, Roald Amundsen, and Sir Ernest Shackleton. From Pytheas's voyage to the Arctic Circle in 325 B.C. to Børge Ousland's solo crossing of the Arctic Ocean in 2001, the history of our quest to conquer the poles is filled with tales of courage, inspiration, tragedy, and triumph.

Exploring Polar Frontiers: A Historical Encyclopedia, is the only reference work that provides a comprehensive history of polar exploration from the ancient period through the present day. The author is a noted polar scholar and offers dramatic accounts of all major explorers and their expeditions, together with separate exploration histories for specific islands, regions, and uncharted waters. He presents a wealth of fascinating information in a variety of subject entries (methods of transport, myths, achievements, and record-breaking activities).

By approaching polar exploration biographically, geographically, and topically, Mills reveals a number of intriguing connections between the various explorers, their patrons and times, and the process of discovery in all areas of the polar regions. Furthermore, he provides the reader with a clear understanding of the intellectual climate as well as the dominant social, economic, and political forces surrounding each expedition. Readers will learn why the journeys were undertaken, not just where, when, and how.

Title Features
• 511 A-Z biographical, geographical, and subject entries on polar exploration such as dogs, man-hauling, Elephant Island, South Georgia, and major explorers such as Sir John Franklin, Fridtjof Nansen, and Richard Byrd.
• Extensive collection of photographs many taken by expedition participants.
• Vivid illustrations, including woodcuts and drawings.
• 20 maps detailing Arctic and Antarctic regions.
• Chronology of expeditions beginning with the voyage of Pytheas in 325 B.C. through the present

• The only title to tell the stories of all major polar expeditions, Arctic and Antarctic.
• Numerous great stories, many that rival Amundsen's journey to the South Pole and Shackleton's Endurance.
• Examines the intellectual, social, economic, and political forces surrounding each expedition.

I've not seen the book yet but plan to order it soon despite the formidable price. Knowing William--the librarian and keeper of collections at Scott Polar Research Institute--I'm sure it's well done. He is, sadly, quite ill at the moment and this is almost certainly his final accomplishment.
--R. Stephenson
(28 February 2004)

FROZEN HISTORY; THE LEGACY OF SCOTT AND SHACKLETON Photographs by Josef and Katharina Hoflehner, text by David L. Harrowfield. (Wels, Austria: Joseph Hoflehner Photography, 2003) 180 fine photographs, printed in duo-tone. Printed and bound in Italy. 288 pp. £52, $88, NZ$150, A$126 plus postage. ISBN 3950151028. Web:
At the turn of the twentieth century the geographical South Pole was the object of one of the last great races of discovery. This 'heroic age' of exploration is a chronicle of hardship, courage, endurance and tragedy. It is a record of men who overcame great odds and often their own fears and foibles to reach the South Pole. The British names of Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton are writ large in the legend of this frozen continent.

The 'heroic age' saw a number of British Antarctic expeditions mounted and dozens of men risked their lives to conquer the last great frontier on earth. These parties built substantial wooden huts at locations accessible by ship and from these bases the sledging parties left for the interior.

About one century after their construction, Josef and Katharina Hoflehner present this premiere detailed portrayal of these historic sites. Many of these fine photographs are accompanied by excerpts from diaries gathered from Antarctic historic site authority and author David L. Harrowfield. In his foreword he wrote: "... for the first time a book now captures the true feeling and uniqueness of the huts and their contents."
--From the book's website (

The photographer Josef Hoflehner recently e-mailed me about his new book. The website includes quite a few sample pages. The photographs appear to be all black and white and of artistic merit.
--R. Stephenson
(14 December 2003)

A follow-up e-mail: "...we ship books with destination "Pacific Rim" from New Zealand. David Harrowfield ( ) is responsible for distribution to individuals and resellers in this area and he takes credit cards, cheques and I think bank-transfer also. Meanwhile the book is listed at some resellers e.g. Hedgehoe House (Colin Monteath) and some bookshops in New Zealand. It's available at Scott Base and I think at McMurdo, too.
Books to Europe, USA or elsewhere we ship from Austria. Within Germany, Austria and Switzerland the book can be ordered in bookshops also. Unfortunately it's not yet available through or similar. I try to keep shipping cost as low as possible, so within European Union I ship for free, and to USA I ship for 8 USD (effective cost is $20,00 +).
Within the European Union I enclose an invoice and ask for bank-transfer, elsewhere I send an e-mail 'money request' form via 'Paypal'."
--R. Stephenson
(16 December 2003)

UPDATE: "I just received my copy of Josef Hoflehner's "Frozen History: The Legacy of Scott and Shackleton" and am quite impressed. It definitely is an "art" book and the black and white shots provide an interesting view of these historic sites and artifacts beyond what has already been done. Using black and white film, the photographer makes the huts appear timeless, whether one imagines Shackleton ready to burst through the door at any moment, Ponting setting up for a shot, or when I was lucky enough to visit the huts myself in the early 1990s. The palpable spirit of timelessness and history that I sensed there has been convincingly captured on these pages. More art than history, this book is very nicely done and would make a good addition to any polar enthusiast's collection."
--From a recent e-mail from Charles Lagerbom (author of The Fifth Man: Henry R. Bowers)
(30 December 2003)

UPDATE: I received a copy a few days back and agree with Charles Lagerbom. It's a beautifully produced book and well worth the price. It's mainly a photography book (all black and white and very crisp) with very little text. It's a large book (12 inches tall). According to the copyright page there is also a Limited Edition of 300 copies. --R. Stephenson
(8 January 2004)

Foreword (by David L. Harrowfield)
Ross Island
Hut Point -- Scott's Discovery Hut
Cape Royds -- Shackleton's Nimrod Hut
Cape Evans -- Scott's Terra Nova Hut
Conclusion (by Herbert Justnik)
Afterword (by Josef Hoflehner)
Authors Information
Notes and Sources
UPDATE: Charles Lagerbom forwarded the following e-mail from Josef Hoflehner: "...I'm pleased to announce that "Frozen History" is the winner of the award: 'Austria's most beautiful book, 2003' [in the category 'art & and photography]."
(12 January 2004)

UPDATE: Josef Hoflehner e-mails to say "As mentioned, the competition is named "Austria's most beautiful books". There are several categories and each category has a winner. However, just one book out of these category-winners is the winner of the state-award (national prize) and this overall winner is Frozen History. For book-publishers this is a really prestigious award and it receive high media interest (Europe-wide), so competition was strong.
On February 11th a ceremony takes place at the office of our Federal Chancellor in Vienna."
(15 January 2004)

SEA OF GLORY; AMERICA'S VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY, THE U.S. EXPLORING EXPEDITION 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick. (New York: Viking, 2003) Illustrated. 452 pp. $27.95. ISBN 0-670-03231-X.

"America's first frontier was not the West; it was the sea-and no one writes more eloquently about that watery wilderness than Nathaniel Philbrick. In his bestselling In the Heart of the Sea, winner of the National Book Award, he probed the nightmarish dangers of the vast Pacific. Now, in a cinematic epic of adventure, he writes about the expedition that attempted to tame those dangers, only to find itself at the mercy of a tempestuous commander.

The U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842 was one of the most ambitious undertakings of the nineteenth century and one of the largest voyages of discovery the Western world had ever seen--six magnificent sailing vessels and a crew of hundreds that included botanists, geologists, mapmakers, and biologists, all under the command of the young, brash Lieutenant Charles Wilkes. Their goal was to cover the Pacific Ocean, top to bottom, and to plant the American flag around the world. Four years after embarking, they returned to the United States having accomplished this and much more. They discovered [sic] a new southern continent, which Wilkes would name Antarctica. They were the first Americans to survey the treacherous Columbia River, the first to chart dozens of newly discovered islands all across the Pacific. They explored volcanoes in Hawaii, confirmed Charles Darwin's theory of the formation of coral atolls, and collected thousands of specimens that eventually became the foundation of the Smithsonian's scientific collections.

This was an enterprise that should have been as celebrated and revered as the expeditions of Lewis and Clark. Philbrick explains for the first time why the "Ex. Ex." vanished from the national memory. Using new sources, including a secret journal, Philbrick reconstructs the darker saga that official reports, which focused on the Ex. Ex.'s accomplishments, never told. The story pivots on Charles Wilkes--simultaneously ambitious, proud, petty, and courageous, a self-destructive dynamo who undermines his own prodigious feats by alienating his crew and officers, fighting battles with his sponsors, and jealously guarding what should have been a proud national legacy. Against him stands William Reynolds, a promising young officer who signs on to the voyage filled with enthusiasm and admiration for Wilkes and ends it in bitter disillusion, finally facing his former commander in a sensational courtroom confrontation.

Philbrick combines meticulous scholarship with spellbinding human drama in a tale that circles the globe: from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the icy waters off Antarctica to the stunning Pacific Northwest coastline. He takes us under sail and inside the heads of Wilkes and his officers. We feel the excitement of discovery--of climbing down into a smoldering volcano or looking out from a tall mast and spying a new continent. We feel the drama of terrifying encounters with hostile and dangerous natives. And at the end, we are grateful to have this piece of our history restored at last, in a magnificent American saga.

About the Author: Nathaniel Philbrick Is the author of the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies and a leading authority on the history of Nantucket, where he lives with his wife and two children."
--From the dustjacket.

"In 1838, the U.S. government launched the largest discovery voyage the Western world had ever seen&mdash6 sailing vessels and 346 men bound for the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Four years later, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, or Ex. Ex. as it was known, returned with an astounding array of accomplishments and discoveries: 87,000 miles logged, 280 Pacific islands surveyed, 4,000 zoological specimens collected, including 2,000 new species, and the discovery [sic] of the continent of Antarctica. And yet at a human level, the project was a disaster-not only had 28 men died and 2 ships been lost, but a series of sensational courts-martial had also ensued that pitted the expedition's controversial leader, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, against almost every officer under his command.

Though comparable in importance and breadth of success to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Ex. Ex. has been largely forgotten. Now, the celebrated Nathaniel Philbrick re-creates this chapter of American maritime history in all its triumph and scandal.

Like the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory combines meticulous history with spellbinding human drama as it circles the globe from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the treacherous waters off Antarctica and to the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and, finally, to a court-martial aboard a ship of the line anchored off New York City."
--From the publisher's website.

The December 28, 2003 issue of the Boston Sunday Globe has a quite complimentary review of the book by Joan Druett. "...descriptions of battles with storms and Antarctic ice are outstandingly vivid reading. His research is both comprehensive and painstaking."
The Notes are extensive (49 pages), so too the useful Bibliography (22 pages).
--R. Stephenson
(8 January 2004)

Preface: Young Ambition
Chapter 1. The Great South Sea
Chapter 2. The Deplorable Expedition
Chapter 3. Most Glorious Hopes
Chapter 4. At Sea
Chapter 5. The Turning Point
Chapter 6. Commodore of the Pacific
Chapter 7. Antarctica
Chapter 8. A New Continent
Chapter 9. The Cannibal Islands
Chapter 10. Massacre at Malolo
Chapter 11. Mauna Loa
Chapter 12. The Wreck of the Peacock
Chapter 13. Homeward Bound
Chapter 14. Reckoning
Chapter 15. This Thing Called Science
Chapter 16. Legacy
Selected Bibliography

CONSERVATION REPORT; SHACKLETON'S HUT (Christchurch: Antarctic Heritage Trust, March 2003) Numerous illustrations including black and white and color photographs. Maps, plans, tables. [154]pp. Spiral binding. NZ$50 plus NZ$5 postage in New Zealand or NZ$15 for overseas destinations. ISBN 0-9582425-0-X. Web:
Authors, Contributors, Reviewers
Foreword by Helen Clark, Prime Minister
Letter from the Hon Alexandra Shackleton
Glossary of Terms
1.1 Background p 9
1.2 Conservation Philosophy p 9
1.3 Purpose p 10
1.4 Associated Documents p 11
1.5 Standards p 11
1.6 Acknowledgements p 13
2.1 The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09 p 17
2.2 The Hut at Cape Royds p 20
2.3 Chronology p 28
3.1 Site p 33
3.2 Hut Exterior p 35
3.3 Hut Interior p 43
3.4 Artefacts Outside p 47
3.5 Artefacts Inside p 48
4.1 Introduction p 55
4.2 Criteria for Assessment p 55
4.3 Statement of Significance p 56
4.4 Relative Values p 57
5.1 Environmental Constraints p 61
5.2 Environmental Degradation p 61
5.3 Logistic Constraints p 62
5.4 Legal Constraints p 63
5.5 Funding Constraints p 64
6.1 Background p 67
6.2 Conservation of the Hut p 68
6.3 Conservation of Artefacts p 72
6.4 General Policies p 75
7.1 Environs p 79
7.2 Building Exterior p 79
7.3 Building Interior p 81
7.4 Maintenance and Planning p 81
7.5 Artefacts p 82
7.6 Replication p 85
7.7 Architectural Drawings p 86
8.1 Implementation Plan log p 109
8.2 Outline Programme log p 109
8.3 Personnel p 111
8.4 Transportation and Logistics p 111
8.5 Financial Resources Required p 111
8.6 Maintenance p 111
8.7 Review of this Report p 112
1 Biographies p 114
2 Bibliography p 116
3 Original Specification p 118
4 Artefact Listing by Chenhall and Classification Summary Report p 123
5 Stores List of Supplies and Equipment Taken to Cape Royds p 124
6 Shackleton's Hut - Building Services Design Report p 143
7 ICOMOS Charter p 148
8 Key Conservation Personnel p 152
As the title suggests, this is a conservation report focusing on Shackleton's Cape Royds Hut. (Similar efforts are underway, apparently, for other historic huts in the Ross Sea Sector--the Discovery Hut, Cape Evans and Cape Adare.) From the conservation perspective, the key chapter is the one devoted to Recommendations. No one would wish the Cape Royds Hut itself not be preserved, but some of what is suggested seem a little 'wonky.' For instance--quoting from page 79: "Reconstruct the cache of stores against the south and east elevations to their 1909 form. This work will include the replication of storage boxes (up to 384 and 216 new boxes respectively will be required)..." (The emphasis is mine. One has to question the cost of producing 'new' artifacts and ask for what purpose and for whom? And once in place, the new 'artifacts' will have to be preserved and presumably replaced some years further out.)

But such opinions aside, this is a very valuable report for all the detail included. There are some photographs that haven't been seen before; a useful Chronology of the Hut and its various repairs, replacements, changes, studies of, etc., from its construction to 2002; two excellent and detailed site plans of the Hut and its environs at Cape Royds (complete with contours); 18 detailed architectural plans and elevations of the Hut at a scale of 1:25; and in the Appendices, a very useful series of short biographies of members of the Nimrod expedition; an extensive Bibliography of material related to the Hut (Unpublished Manuscripts, Reports, Theses, Maps, Plans, Photographs; Field Reports; and Published Titles); the original typescript specifications for the Hut (total price: £154!); and a 20-page listing of artifacts, stores and equipment taken south to Cape Royds by the expedition (broken down by Provisions, Meat, Other Provisions, Miscellaneous Goods [Utensils, Enamelware, Earthenware, Heating and Lighting Equipment], Transport [New Arrol-Johnston Motor Car, Ponies, Dogs, Sledging Equipment, Climbing Equipment], Tools, Fuel, Surveying Equipment, Photographic Equipment, Scientific Equipment [Meteorological, Time Keeping, Laboratory and Miscellaneous Field Equipment, Chemical, etc.], Signalling Equipment, Weapons, Medical Supplies, Printing Equipment, Recreation, Furniture, Pictures, etc., Miscellaneous, Hygiene, Clothing, Personal, and Books).
--R. Stephenson
(14 December 2003)

CAPTAIN SCOTT by Ranulph Fiennes. (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 13 October 2003) 74 illustrations some in color. 9 maps. 508 pp. £20. ISBN 0-340-82697-5. Web:

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is uniquely qualified to write a new biography of Captain Scott. This will be the first biography of Scott by someone who has experienced the deprivations, the stress and the sheer physical pain that Scott lived through; he has suffered all but the final tragedy endured by the much maligned Scott. He is determined to put the record straight. As well as being the definitive biography of Scott, written with the full and exclusive co-operation of the Scott Estate, this book traces the way that Scott's reputation has been attacked and his achievements distorted. Written with the energy and style that have made Fiennes' other books so popular, SCOTT is one of the major publishing events of 2003.
--From the publisher's website (

Maps viii
Author's Notes ix
Introduction, xiii
1. Markham's Grand Design, p 1
2. Torpedo Lieutenant Scott, p 15
3. Order out of Chaos, p 27
4. Through the Pack Ice 1901-1902, p 42
5. Nudging the Great Barrier 1902, p 52
6. Dogs, Skis and Men, p 63
7. The First Winter, p 74
8. The Southern Journey 1902-1903, p 89
9. Lost on the Plateau 1903-1904, p 110
10. A Promise Broken, p 134
11. The Race Begins 1910, p 165
12. Near Disaster 1911, p 193
13. The Worst Journey 1911, p 226
14. The Dangerous Glacier, p 262
15. The Black Flag, p 295
16. Intimations of Tragedy, p 318
17. The Greatest March Ever Made, p 339
18. The Legacy, p 378
19. The Last Word, p 405
Appendix I - Members of the Discovery Expedition, 1901-4, p 437
Appendix II - Members of the Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-13, p 440
Acknowledgements, p 444
Bibliography, p 447
Notes on Sources, p 453
Index, p 491
I've only read Chapter 19, The Last Word. A famous Antarctican characterized it at the recent Athy Shackleton Autumn School as "the biter gets bitten," or words to that effect. This book prominently joins those by Judy Skelton and David Wilson, David Yelverton, and Susan Solomon in setting the foundation for the resurrection of Scott.
--R. Stephenson
(11 November 2003)

UPDATE: From a recent e-mail from Ran Fiennes: "We launch the US version of the book in November 2004. The publishers are Hyperion."
(5 January 2004)


Charles H. Lagerbom--author of 'The Fifth Man: Henry R. Bowers'--e-mails to relate that Ran Fiennes " currently researching material for a biography of Captain Scott."
(7 November 2002)

UPDATE: I happened to see a typescript of Ran's book at SPRI earlier this month, circulating about for expert comment. I've heard it's due out in October.
--R. Stephenson
(28 May 2003)

UPDATE: According to Jonathan Shackleton, Fiennes' Scott book will be launched at the Royal Geographical Society on 13 October. And Paul Davies e-mails to say that Ran will be speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival on 18 October.
--R. Stephenson
(23 September 2003)

UPDATE: The book has now appeared. See Antarctic Book Notes for information.
--R. Stephenson
(9 November 2003)

THE LAST GREAT QUEST: CAPTAIN SCOTT'S ANTARCTIC SACRIFICE by Max Jones. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 9 October 2003) 56 illustrations in black and white. Endpaper maps. 352 pp. £20/$35. ISBN 0-19-280483-9. Web:

An important and challenging interpretation of a pivotal moment in British history.
• The most important new contribution to our knowledge of this compelling story for nearly 25 years, and the first time it has been set in a wider historical context.
• Original conclusions, based on previously unavailable evidence.
• A new dimension is added to the story by probing the nature of heroism in modern Britain, and the strengths and weaknesses of Scott himself.
• Jones claims the story of Scott of the Antarctic as a defining moment in modern British history, connecting Scott with Dr Livingstone, the Titanic disaster, and the ascent of Everest. In particular, Scott's story helps us to understand the generation who fought and died in the Great War.
--From the publisher's website (

Scott's last Antarctic expedition is one of the great adventure stories of the twentieth century. On 1 November 1911, a British team set out on the gruelling 800-mile journey across the coldest and highest continent on earth to the South Pole. Five men battled through unimaginably harsh conditions only to find the Norwegian flag planted at the Pole just weeks before. Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Lieutenant Henry Bowers, Petty Officer Edgar Evans, Captain Lawrence Oates, and Dr Edward Wilson all died on the return trek, starved and frozen to death, only eleven miles from a supply camp. In November 1912, a rescue party discovered their last letters and diaries, which told a story of bravery, hardship, and self-sacrifice that shocked the world.

Recent decades have seen controversy rage over whether Scott was the last of a line of great Victorian explorers, intent on discovering uncharted lands, or a hopeless incompetent driven by personal ambition. Rejecting the stereotypes, Max Jones reveals a complex figure, a product of the passions and preoccupations of an imperial age. He also shows how heroes are made and manipulated, through a close examination of the unprecedented outpouring of public grief at the news of the death of Scott and his companions.

Max Jones uses fascinating new evidence and previously unseen illustrations to take us back to this remarkable moment in modern history to tell for the first time, the full story of The Last Great Quest.
--From the dustjacket.

Acknowledgements v
List of Plates xi
List of Figures xiv
Abbreviations xv
Introduction, p 3
Chapter One - Measuring the World, p 15
Chapter Two - The Race to the South Pole, p 49
Chapter Three - Disaster in the Antarctic, p 95
Chapter Four - Remembering the Dead, p 131
Chapter Five - 'Martyrs of Science', p 161
Chapter Six - 'For the Honour of our Country', p 193
Chapter Seven - "These Were Men', p 227
Chapter Eight - 'So Many Heroes', p 253
Epilogue, p 285
Appendix 1 - British Memorials Commemorating the Antarctic Disaster, 1913-1925, p 295
Appendix 2 - Message to the Public, p 297
Notes, p 299
Further Reading, p 335
Index, p 343
--R. Stephenson
(10 November 2003)

UPDATE: I'm close to half way through the book and I'm very impressed, mainly because the author has taken a different tack from previous treatments. He says in his Introduction: "While many authors have told the story of Scott's life, no one until now has examined the impact of his death, the ways in which the world responded to this tragic story from the south." Lots of detail on the various Scott memorial services, commemorative sites, etc. [see 'A Low-Latitude Antarctic Gazetteer' elsewhere on this site].
--R. Stephenson
(14 December 2003)

SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC AND PLYMOUTH'S ANTARCTIC CONNECTIONS by Paul Davies. 2003. Issued by the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. Single folded sheet yielding 12 panels. Map. 11 black & white photographs and one engraving. Available at 50p from the Museum. Web (although no mention of the brochure):

Paul Davies has researched and written a very nicely done brochure or leaflet on some of Plymouth's Scott-related sites. Included are The Scott Memorial on Mount Wise; 'Outlands' the site of Scott's boyhood home; the streets nearby to Outlands named for the polar party; St Marks Church which has a carving of Scott; the Marine Biological Association; Frank Bickerton's house on Lockyer Street; British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit; Fred Dailey's grave in Ford Park Cemetery; and the collections of the Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. There is also a short Scott biography, a Scott Timeline and some key expedition dates of the Heroic Age.
--R. Stephenson
(11 November 2003)

SEEK THE FROZEN LANDS: IRISH POLAR EXPLORERS 1740-1922 by Frank Nugent. (Cork: The Collins Press, 9 October 2003) 100 illustrations in black and white. 292 pp. Euro 30/£20. ISBN 1-903464-24-2. Web:

Frank Nugent is a modern-day polar explorer like Irish heroes Tom Crean or Shackleton. He has faced 40 foot waves in a fragile, capsized, little boat, climbed the world's highest peaks, endured feats of bravery and bold determination of which even his 'polar' forebears would have been proud. Nugent was responsible in part for the explosion of interest in Tom Crean, up to two years ago an unsung hero of polar exploration. Since then, Crean has been immortalised in the Guinness Advertisement, an award-winning one man show, a monument, and an exhibition to which 200,000 visitors have flocked to date. Not bad for a fella from Dingle!

But it would be foolish to assume that Crean and Shackleton were the only Irish people active in polar exploration. High on any list of great Polar explorers would be the names Crozier, McClintock, McClure and Shackleton. But how many know they were all Irish too? Seek the Frozen Lands unveils an array of Irish heroes, largely unknown and forgotten in modern Ireland. Some left a trail of cairns and bones as they perished in their quests, others were promoted, acclaimed for bravery or achieved scientific recognition. This is truly a story of heroism, drama and tragedy.

Frank Nugent is an experienced mountaineer, explorer and expedition leader. He was the Deputy Leader of the first successful Irish Everest Expedition in 1993, followed in the footsteps of Shackleton across South Georgia (1977) and sailed the Northwest Passage in the wake of Irish Polar explorers Crozier and McClintock in a shallow draft boat (2001). In the Spring of 2003, he and some fellow climbers climbed 15 of the world's untouched peaks. A member of the James Caird and Tom Crean Societies, he works as training manager with Fás Training and Employment Authority--Ireland. He lives in Dublin with his wife and sons.
--From a press release supplied by the publisher.

On TV extreme sports and survival challenges seem diminished, remote places accessible, rescue a phone call away. But polar explorers played for real, extraordinary men truly entering the unknown, out of contact and away for years at a time. High on any list of Polar explorers would be the names Crozier, McClintock, McClure and Shackleton. But how many know they were all Irish? Seek The Frozen Lands unveils an array of Irish heroes largely unknown in modern Ireland. With previously unpublished material and interviews with descendants this book has a cast of characters as rich as any novel.

The saga begins in the eighteenth century with Arthur Dobbs who advocated the existence of the Northwest Passage. This was followed by Edward Bransfield, who made one of the first sightings of the Antarctic in 1820 when mapping the South Shetland Islands. It continues with the search for the Northwest Passage, ongoing scientific work, the discovery of the Antarctic Iceshelf and the charting of the Ross Sea in 1841 by Ross and Crozier. The pace quickens with considerable Irish involvement in the search for Franklin, his second-in-command Crozier, and their men, by McClintock, McClure and Kellett as they found skeletons scattered across the Canadian Arctic. Their reports horrified the world. The story ends with the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and the burial of Shackleton in 1922 in South Georgia.

Many of the aforementioned names, along with Sabine, Beaufort, Keohane, Crean, Forde and McCarthy dot the maps of the frozen lands. Some left a trail of cairns and bones as they perished in their quests, others were promoted, acclaimed for bravery or achieved scientific recognition. This is truly a story of heroism, drama and tragedy.
--From a press release supplied by the publisher.

The remarkable role of the Irish in Polar exploration has been hidden and understated. This book describes their achievements in the exploration, scientific investigation and mapping of the Arctic and Antarctic. This saga begins in the eighteenth century, continues with the search for the Northwest Passage, and the lost Franklin Expedition of 1845, and ends with the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.
--From the publisher's website (
Preface vii
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction, p 1
1. Eighteenth-century Exploration, p 5
2. Bransfield Sights the Antarctic Peninsula, p 13
3. Sabine and Crozier Enter the Arctic, p 25
4. Sabine, Lloyd and Beaufort Lead the Way, p 39
5. Crozier, Captain of Terror, p 51
6. The Franklin Expedition, p 69
7. McClure, McClintock and Kellett Search for Franklin, p 79
8. McClure and Investigator Search from the Pacific, p 95
9. The Belcher Expedition, p 109
10. McClintock's Voyage of the Fox, p 121
11. After the Franklin Search and the Nares North Pole Expedition, p 141
12. The Private Arctic Expeditions of Henry Gore-Booth, p 161
13. Jerome Collins and John Cole of Cork, p 167
14. Scott's Discovery Expedition, p 179
15. Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition, p 193
16. Antarctic Expedition of Terra Nova, p 205
17. Epic Voyage of the Endurance, p 229
18. Shackleton and Crean's Final Voyages, p 261
19. The Legacy of the Irish Polar Explorers, p 269
Notes & References, p 273
Glossary of Polar & Nautical Terms & Conversion Tables, p 281
Bibliography, p 283
Index, p 286
--R. Stephenson
(10 November 2003)

ICE MAN: THE REMARKABLE ADVENTURES OF ANTARCTIC EXPLORER TOM CREAN by Michael Smith. Illustrated by Annie Brady (Cork: The Collins Press, 15 October 2003) 127 pp. Juvenile. Paperback. Euro 7.99/£5.99. ISBN 1-903464-44-7. Web:

At the bottom of the world stands a dark mountain towering above the snow and ice of Antarctica. It is Mount Crean, a permanent memorial to Irishman Tom Crean. His amazing adventures in this most hostile region are among the greatest tales of hardship and survival. Antarctica is not for ordinary people but Tom was no ordinary man. His exploits began when he was fifteen, ran away from home and lied about his age to join the British navy. His next step into the unknown took him to the frozen wilderness where he spent more time than the famous Scott or Shackleton - and lived longer!
Going to the Antarctic 100 years ago was like going to Jupiter or Mars today. Explorers were cut off from civilization for two to three years, no radio or telephone contact, 1000s of miles from the nearest outpost. Temperatures plunged way below zero, winds roared to 200 mph. It was a struggle to survive. But Tom was the 'iron' man who overcame all the odds to travel on three Polar expeditions. He explored the unknown, crossed ice fields and wild oceans, courageously saved his friends from death and lived to tell the tale. Tom was an exceptional man for exceptional circumstances. Sir Edmund Hilary, the first person to climb Everest, said: 'His courage, his determination, his loyalty to his leaders and team impressed me. He was a great man.'

Michael Smith wrote the bestselling biography of Tom Crean, An Unsung Hero (The Collins Press/Headline). He was encouraged to write this edition for children by the enthusiastic response during a lecture tour of schools in Ireland. In 2002 his biography of Captain Oates, I Am Just Going Outside (The Collins Press/Spellmount), sold out in just two months. He was a leading journalist before devoting his skills to writing books.
--From a press release supplied by the publisher. Tom Crean was no ordinary man, and his chilling adventures in the Antarctic raise real goosebumps in this stirring story of survival in extraordinary conditions. He saved comrades from drowning in frozen waters, and rescued others from freezing snow, whilst following his leaders - Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton, the famous Polar explorers. Written by Crean's biographer who wrote the best-selling An Unsung Hero, The Ice Man is a boy's own story of courage, strength and determination to thrill any young reader.
--From the publisher's website (

"The children's version of Tom Crean sold out within 10 days and has been reprinted."
--From recent e-mail from Michael.

Introduction, p 6
A Farmer's Lad, p 8
A Step into the Unknown, p 13
Footprints in the Snow, p 16
Life at the Extremes, p 22
The Call of the Ice, p 26
The Dash to the Pole, p 30
Teardrops in the Snow, p 37
A Race for Life, p 41
Raw Courage, p 47
The Bravest March, p 52
Life and Death on the Ice, p 59
Ice Bound, p 62
Trapped, p 66
Cast Adrift, p 72
Launch the Boats!, p 78
A Fragile Grip on Life, p 84
An Epic Voyage, p 89
March or Die, p 98
An Historic Trek, p 103
Rescue Mission, p 113
Tom the Pole, p 117
Tom Crean--A Timeline, p 122
Useful Information, p 124
Further Reading, p 125
Index, p 126
--R. Stephenson
(10 November 2003)


During a phone conversation in early May, Michael reported that a children's version of his Crean book is due out in the autumn.
--R. Stephenson
(28 May 2003)

UPDATE: Michael e-mails to say: "I have written a children's version of the Tom Crean story, which is hitting the shops this month (September 2003). Aimed at 8-14 years old with illustrations, it is called The Iceman.
--R. Stephenson
(3 September 2003)

UPDATE: Received today from Michael more information on both The Iceman and Frank Nugent's book:

Tom Crean for Kids
The incredible Polar exploits of Tom Crean have been adapted for children in a new book, called Ice Man, written by Crean's biographer, Michael Smith. Crean was the indestructible Irishman and loyal lieutenant to Shackleton who survived three epic expeditions to the Antarctic. But he turned down a plea to sail on Quest after telling Shackleton about his marriage and declaring: "I have a long-haired pal now".
He volunteered for the Discovery expedition in 1901 and was among the last to see Scott alive near the South Pole in 1912. He received the Albert Medal, the highest award for gallantry, for saving the life of Lt Evans.
Crean was Second Officer on Endurance, who piloted the Stancomb Wills to Elephant Island in 1916 and accompanied Shackleton in the James Caird and on the forced march across South Georgia.
The book is aimed at 8-14 years olds and is illustrated with artwork from students at the National College of Art & Design in Ireland.

Ice Man - The Antarctic Adventures of Tom Crean is published by The Collins Press, priced £5.99 (E7.99). Details:

From the publisher's website:
The Ice Man - the Antarctic Adventures of Tom Crean Michael Smith. Tom Crean was no ordinary man, and his chilling adventures in the Antarctic raise real goosebumps in this stirring story of survival in extraordinary conditions. He saved comrades from drowning in frozen waters, and rescued others from freezing snow, whilst following his leaders - Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton, the famous Polar explorers. Written by Crean's biographer who wrote the best-selling An Unsung Hero, The Ice Man is a boy's own story of courage, strength and determination to thrill any young reader.
ISBN: 1-903464-44-7 Children PB 128pp 216x138mm TBC

--R. Stephenson
(11 November 2003)

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE; BIRDS AND MARINE MAMMALS OF THE ANTARCTIC CONTINENT AND THE SOUTHERN OCEAN by Hadoram Shirihai, illustrated by Brett Jarrett. (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002) (Published in the European Union by Alula Press Oy, Knapantie 49, FIN-10160 Degerby, Finland.) Profusely illustrated (635 color photos, 35 color plates, 157 maps) 510 pp. $65/£45. ISBN 0-691-11414-5. Web:
The first of its kind, this spectacularly illustrated book is the only complete guide to the wildlife and natural history of the vast and beautiful Antarctic region.

Covering the Antarctic continent, the southern ocean, and the subantarctic islands, this guide illustrates all of the region's breeding birds and marine mammals with stunning color photographs. In addition to the color plates, it features distribution maps and up-to-date species accounts expertly detailing abundance, seasonal status, and conservation prospects. The volume also covers numerous nonbreeding species, migrants, and vagrants.

Regional chapters describe all of the subantarctic islands, in addition to most regularly visited sites in Antarctica, and are accompanied by maps of each area and photographs of each locale. These chapters present detailed information on geography, climate, geology, general ecology, and flora. They also address conservation efforts--past, present, and planned. The book concludes with practical information about visiting the area, including details on the best-available landing sites and notes on seasonal weather conditions.

This is an indispensable companion for a trip far south, as well as an informative volume for anyone interested in the Antarctic region's remarkable, occasionally strange, and frequently beautiful animals.

- Features 35 color plates and over 600 color photographs.
- Illustrates and maps the distribution of all of the region's breeding birds and marine mammals.
- Includes information on many non-breeders, migrants, and vagrants.
- Features expert text reflecting recent advances in taxonomy.
- Covers all of the subantarctic islands as well as Antarctica's regularly visited sites.
- Offers travel tips, including weather considerations and landing sites.

Hadoram Shirihai is an award-winning ornithologist and the author of The Birds of Israel, The Macmillan Birder's Guide to European and Middle Eastern Birds, and Sylvia Warblers (Princeton).

Endorsement: "This is an ambitious, single-volume guide to the wildlife of the Antarctic, subantarctic, and associated regions in the Southern Ocean. It is very comprehensive, with details of all of the relevant bird and mammal species likely to be encountered. It will prove invaluable for both visitors--either tourists or scientists--and those with a fascination for this region."--Keith Reid, British Antarctic Survey

--From the publisher's website (
List of colour plates 6
Preface 7
Referees for this book 7
Acknowledgements 8
Background to the research work 10
Layout of the Book 11
   The Maps 12
   Abbreviations 12
Synopsis of the region 13
   The Antarctic and Subantarctic Environments: The Southern Ocean 13
   Geological History 18
   Geography and Climate 20
   Sea Environment 25
   Habitats and vegetation 29
   Avifauna 30
   Marine Mammals 33
   Conservation in the Region 36
   Checklist of Birds and Marine Mammals of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean 40
   History of Antarctic Exploration 46
Bird and marine mammal topography 53
Species Accounts
   Penguins 54
   Great albatrosses 86
   Small and medium albatrosses 107
   Sooty albatrosses, giant petrels and distinct petrels 129
   Gadfly petrels 143
   Procellaria petrels and shearwaters 158
   Blue Petrel and prions 173
   Storm-petrels and diving-petrels 184
   Cormorants and shags of the Southern Ocean 192
   Gannets 207
   Large skuas 210
   Stercorarius skuas 218
   Gulls and terns 223
   Endemic and indigenous species of Subantarctic islands in the S Indian and S Atlantic Oceans and the Falklands 237
   Endemic and indigenous non-passerines of New Zealand's Subantarctic islands 271
   Endemic and indigenous passerines of New Zealand's subantarctic islands 281
   Endemic and indigenous passerines of New Zealand's subantarctic islands 287
Marine Mammals
   Seals 294
   Cetaceans 315
Regional descriptions (with tables of breeding species)
   Subantarctic islands off South America (and Checklist of Falkland Islands birds) 369
   South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea 388
   South Atlantic Islands 405
   Subantarctic islands in the Indian Ocean 416
   Subantarctic islands south of New Zealand 434
   The Ross Sea 461
   East Antarctica 470
   Peter I Øy 475
Other Regions and Islands 476
   Islands off southern Chile and southern Argentina 476
   Tasmania Group 478
Gateways to the Antarctic: pelagic and other birds and marine mammals in southern South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand 480
   Ushuaia, the Beagle Channel and sea area south of Tierra del Fuego 480
   Seabird and whale viewing off South Africa 482
   Observing Southern Ocean seabirds and cetaceans off Australia 484
   Seabird and sea mammal viewing around New Zealand 486
Bibliography 490
Appendix 495
   Organizations and Contacts in the Region 495
   About the authors 496
Index 497
This has to be the definitive guide on the subject.
--R. Stephenson
(10 June 2003)

GERMAN EXPLORATION OF THE POLAR WORLD: A HISTORY, 1870-1940 by David Thomas Murphy. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002) Illustrated. 273 pp. $49.95. ISBN 0-8032-3205-5.
German Exploration of the Polar World is the exciting story of the generations of German polar explorers who braved the perils of the Arctic and Antarctic for themselves and their country. Such intrepid adventurers as Wilhelm Filchner, Erich von Drygalski, and Alfred Wegener are not as well known today as Robert Falcon Scott, Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton, Robert E. Peary, or Richard E. Byrd, but their bravery and the hardships they faced were equal to those of the more famous polar explorers.

In the half-century prior to World War II, the poles were the last blank spaces on the global map, and they exerted a tremendous pull on national imaginations. Under successive political regimes, the Germans threw themselves into the race for polar glory with an ardor that matched their better-known counterparts bearing English, American, and Norwegian flags. German polar explorers were driven, like their rivals, by a complex web of interlocking motivations. Personal fame, the romance of the unknown, and the advancement of science were important considerations, but public pressure, political and military concerns, and visions of immense, untapped wealth at the poles also spurred the explorers.

As historian David Thomas Murphy shows, Germany's repeated encounters with the polar world left an indelible impression upon the German public, government, and scientific community. Reports on the polar landscape, flora, and fauna enhanced Germany's appreciation of the global environment. Accounts of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, accurate or fantastic, permanently shaped German notions of culture and civilization. The final, failed attempt by the Nazis to extend German political power to the earth's ends revealed the limits of any country's ability to reshape the globe politically or militarily.

David Thomas Murphy is an associate professor of history and political science at Anderson University. He is the author of The Heroic Earth: Geopolitical Thought in Weimar Germany, 1918-1933.

--From the publisher's website ( and the dustjacket.
List of Illustrations
Weights and Measures Conversion Chart
Map of German Expeditions to Antarctica
Map of German Expeditions to the Arctic
Introduction: The Lure of the Great Deed
1. Germany Discovers the Poles
2. Persistent Dangers, Unusual Luck
3. Imperial Failure in the Antarctic
4. The Search for Polar Redemption
5. The German Image of the Polar World
6. Aryan Aurora
Epilogue: Elusive Glory
Notes [Very extensive: 30 pages]
Bibliography [Also very extensive: 22 pages]
Some comments without actually having read it: 1) A subject--I believe--not dealt with before, at least in English, so consequently very welcomed. 2) Extensive notes and bibliography. 3) Rather a steep price and oddly not available on Amazon. 4) Dark, grainy, very poorly reproduced illustrations, all from published sources.
--R. Stephenson
(10 June 2003)

THE ORDE LEES JOURNAL: ELEPHANT ISLAND & BEYOND. THE LIFE AND DIARIES OF THOMAS ORDE LEES by John Thomson. (Bluntisham/Banham: Bluntisham Books/The Erskine Press, 2003) Illustrated. 339 pp. £24.95/US$45. ISBN 1 85297 076 6.

John Thomson's book on Orde Lees is now out. This marks the first appearance of any extensive portions of Orde Lees' diaries and journals. What I'm particularly interested in, though, is the biographical material before and after 'Endurance.' Once I give it a good read, I'll report back.
--R. Stephenson
(28 May 2003)


"One long nightmare from beginning to end, always short of food, frequently wet, living in the dark in dirt and squalor, unwashed for months without a change of clothes, living on the most revolting foods--putrid meat and raw blubber--and always uncertain as to whether the food supply would be maintained or the shelter we lived under withstand the terrific blizzards."

The aristocracy of Antarctic exploration does not include the name of Thomas Orde Hans Lees. He came away from Shackleton's 1914 expedition with the reputation of being the least popular and most criticised of the men involved in the Endurance adventure in the Weddell Sea. Not only was he disliked simply for being himself but he was also expected to become the first victim of cannibalism if the 22 men of Elephant Island had run out of food.

Previous accounts of Shackleton's adventure have unfailingly mentioned that Orde Lees was unpopular. Though they have plundered his excellent journal for much of the detail of life on board the Endurance, on the pack ice and finally on Elephant Island, the part he played in keeping the men alive has not been recognised. His journal has--surprisingly--never been published and this book is a long overdue testament to a much misunderstood--and probably unfairly maligned--man.

After his rescue from Elephant Island Orde Lees campaigned vigorously for the use of parachutes in the newly formed Royal Air Force and he was publicly credited with being the primary advocate. Many pilots owe their lives to his faith in this new invention.

He went on the perform more service for his country in Japan and spent the final period of his life in New Zealand.

John Bell Thomson is a retired journalist now devoting his time to projects accumulated during a 50 year newspaper and newsagency career in New Zealand, Australia, Britain and East Africa, which left him no time for such indulgences. He was born in Dunedin, N.Z. in 1931, and returned to his book-writing interests in 1996. This is his third book, and the second concerning members of the Shackleton expedition to the Antarctic in 1914-16, coming after his very successful book on fellow New Zealander, Commander Frank Worsley.

John Thomson now lives in Lower Hutt, N.Z. with his wife Bala, and spends the remainder of his time reading and corresponding with their four children scattered around the world.

1 Family Secrets
2 From China to Antarctica
3 In the beginning
Trapped: 16 January to 24 February 1915
Winter on the Ice: 25 February to 23 October 1915
The End of the Endurance: 24 October to 17 November 1915
Drifting: 18 November 1915 to 8 April 1916
By Boat to Elephant Island: 9 April to 24 April 1916
Surviving: 24 April to 25 August 1916
Rescue: 26 August to 30 August 1916
4 Of Cannibals and Things
5 Parachutes
6 Japan
7 New Zealand
8 Renee's Story


From recent e-mails from John Thomson (author of the excellent Shackleton's Captain; A Biography of Frank Worsley. (see 'Antarctic Book Notes' elsewhere on this site):

"...I believe I promised to tell you about a new project. Well, it is about to arrive - a book about Thomas Orde Lees (note - no hyphen!) covering major points in an interesting and varied life full of surprises, but concentrating on his remarkable journal maintained during the Shackleton Endurance saga. A sample: OL was a member of the British Aviation Mission that taught the Imperial Japanese Navy how to run a Naval Aviation know, the mob that bombed Pearl Harbour! His earlier years (post-Shackleton) as a parachute pioneer are also fascinating, and there is fresh evidence supporting the story of a plot to kill him on Elephant Island when food stocks were exhausted...But the major portion of the book is 100,000+ words from his wonderful journal, and this tells more about the man who was casually condemned for perceived acts of cowardice and meanness, particularly on Elephant Island. His personal lifestory is contained in a 30,000+ word biography that supports the journal, and this has some really surprising information. The working title is THE ORDE LEES JOURNAL: Elephant Island and Beyond, and I imagine that will be the finished title as well. The publishers are The Erskine Press/Bluntisham Books of Norfolk, England. I'm sure this collaboration is known to you for its excellent series of Antarctic books, mainly journals and diaries. The Orde Lees story fits nicely into this range, and will be a handsome hard-back edition with all the trimmings. The actual publication date will be released soon, but I hope it will be as close as September. I'll keep you informed. One of the more interesting features is that I traced Orde Lees' daughter from his second marriage, to a Japanese woman in the early 1930s. She is Zoe Orde Lees, who is in her late 60s now and very fit. However she is also reclusive, and while she has been happy to support my work, and has supplied some astonishing photographs (though nothing new from the Endurance period), she wants to remain firmly in the background, as she values her privacy greatly. I mention her name also because as far as the Antarctic community is concerned, Zoe had simply disappeared (if indeed her existence was ever realised), and Orde Lees grand-son, Julian Ayer, presents himself as sole family survivor. Not so! You can list Zoe Orde Lees as the closest and only direct kin, but never expect her to come out of the shadows: she just won't (FYI: It took me three years to find her). Zoe has asked me to act as her shield, and of course if anyone wants to contact her for any serious purpose I will pass on addresses etc. without offering any hope that she might reply to them... You can present my e-mail address for this purpose if you wish." []
From a second e-mail:
"Your notes were most interesting! I knew a lot of what was described, but OL continues to surprise me - I didn't know of the Vesuvius incident (and it is now too late for the book - pity). But there is plenty left that I had gleaned from this and that source.

As for your kind offer to post material on the webpage, yes, I'd appreciate that of course. Please use whatever you like, keeping in mind that Zoe is determined to maintain her very private existence. She is almost hysterical about this, and I must support her wishes. However the fact that she exists is also most important and she accepts that, so let us by all means break that news.

Ever since I read Lansing's book, and noted his disparaging comments about Orde Lees, I wondered about this curious who lived and died here in Wellington, NZ, where I have been for the past 30 years. I have a sister who was AGE Jones' researcher in NZ on sealer and whaler records...

I have always had great respect for the services (my father served in both World Wars), and it did not ring true with me that a lieutenant-colonel of the Royal Marines was a coward, and when I discovered that OL was promoted to that rank AFTER he had left the service following WW1, I knew there was something to hunt down.

I believe that my biography, supporting OL's own words from his journal, will balance the so-casual summation of a man few, if any, could fathom: he was indeed a man alone in that Endurance company, and there were reasons for it, and for his suspect behaviour. As for his companions, it was easier for some to criticise than it was to understand, and that became OL's burden. However he -- as will be seen -- in pen-portraits of his fellow sufferers, invariably sought to be positive and complimentary, which I took as a measure of his fundamental goodness.

--Thanks to John Bell Thomson. [We await what will certainly be an interesting book and a great addition to the canon.]
(25 August 2002)

UPDATE: John e-mails to report: "My last message published carried my hope that the Orde Lees work might be out before Christmas. In the event, the publishers thought it best to hold it back from the deluge of new titles competing for display, and wait until February for a decent shot at the market. So that is the scheduled time for the launch."
(29 November 2002)

ERNEST SHACKLETON by George Plimpton. (New York: DK Publishing, 2003) Illustrated. 160 pp. $23. ISBN 0-7894-9315-2.

Some of the photos are new to me.
--R. Stephenson

Southward Bound 1874-1903
The Nimrod Sails 1904-1909
South Georgia 1910-1914
On the Ice December 1914-April 1916
The Voyage of the James Caird April-May 1916
Crossing the Mountains May 19-20, 1916
Elephant Island April-October 1916
Aurora 1914-1916
Quest 1917-1922
Photo Credits, Index, & Acknowledgements

Rumor has it that George Plimpton is working on a Shackleton book.
(February 2002)

UPDATE: The following e-mail arrived today from Charles Lagerbom (author of 'The Fifth Man: Henry R. Bowers'):

"In response to the posted rumour of George Plimpton working on a Shackleton biography, I'd like to report that I just received a copy. Published by DK Publishing, the book is part of the A&E Biography series and not surprisingly entitled: Ernest Shackleton. It is profusely illustrated with Shackleton photos and also chockfull of polar trivia snapshots on such topics as scurvy, the Ross Ice Shelf, Mt Erebus, the polar winter, etc. Also included are little sidebars (again lavishly illustrated) on most of the polar personalities (Captain Cook, Amundsen, Frederick Cook, Byrd, Fuchs + Hillary, etc). Much like the television biography programs, the book also makes use of timeline dates such as February 1902 (while Shackleton was onboard Discovery and settling in near Hut Point peninsula) yellow fever in Cuba was being fought by US Army physicians Walter Reed and James Carroll. Interspersed through the Shackleton biography is a series of journal entries of Plimpton's own excursion to the south and his impressions of the region and its explorers. Slickly produced, the book is easy to read and quite entertaining, but no real new depths are plumbed regarding Sir Ernest and his exploits."
--Thanks to Charles Lagerbom
(19 April 2003)

SCOTLAND & THE ANTARCTIC by James A. Goodlad. (Glasgow: Royal Scottish Geographical Society, 2003) Illustrated. [119] pp. Wire spiral binding. £10. ISBN 0-904049-04-3. Website: [not currently listed in the RSGS on-line shop but should be available from them]

"Produced by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society to celebrate the achievements of the Scottish oceanographer and polar explorer William Speirs Bruce and to mark the centenary of the voyage of S.Y. Scotia, the research ship of Bruce's Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902-04."

"Scotland and the Antarctic has been produced as a Source Book for Secondary Schools, and for the General Reader. . . . This book is copyright free for education use in schools and colleges. The resource material includes:- Antarctic exploration, the "Heroic Age" of Antarctic exploration, the voyage of the Scotia, the contribution of William Speirs Bruce to the geographical exploration of the Antarctic--its geology, weather, climate, oceanography, botany, biology and the influence of the Antarctic on present day changes in the world environment."

Section 1
1. Contents
2. Introduction
3. Scotland and the Antarctic
4. Comparison of Arctic and Antarctic
6. Arctic Exploration - the North West Passage
9. The Nature of Antarctica
Section 2
15. Section 2a - Antarctic Exploration
25. Section 2b - Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen
25. Scott's Discovery Expedition
30. Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition
34. Amundsen Fram Expedition
39. Scott's Terra Nova Expedition
43. Shackleton's Endurance Expedition
Section 3 William Speirs Bruce

49. Section 3a - Early Exploration
49. William Speirs Bruce
50. Voyage of the Balaena
53. Ben Nevis Observatory
55. Jackson - Harmsworth Expedition
56. Blencathra Expedition
57. Princess Alice Expedition
58. Section 3b - Scotia Expedition
58. The Voyage of the Scotia
61. The Voyage South
64. South Orkney Islands
65. Autumn
67. Winter
68. Spring
71. To Buenos Aires
73. Second Cruise in the Weddell Sea
77. Welcome Home
80. Section 3c - After S.N.A.E. (Scottish National Antarctic Expedition)
80. The Harvest of Scotia
81. Plans for a second Antarctic Expedition
83. Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory
84. Prince Charles Foreland & Spitsbergen
86. The Death of Bruce
87. Scotia
88. Polar Explorers and Bruce
Section 4 - The Legacy of Bruce
89. Sealing, whaling, and fishing
93. Meteorology
94. Oceanography
95. The Earth's Magnetism
97. Politics in the Antarctic
97. The Antarctic Treaty
98. War in the South
100. The British Antarctic Survey
103. Environmental Problems
103. Pollution in the Antarctic
104. The Ozone layers
105. Lake Vostok
106. Tourism
107. Epilogue
108. The Antarctic Ships [useful chart of ships from Cook's Endeavor to the Aurora, giving type, tonnage, description]
109. Erebus and Terror
110. South Pole - Position
111. Geikie and Watson
112. Emperor Penguin
112. Buenos Aires
113. Log of Scotia
114. Troon Harbour
114. World History 1890 - 1920
115. Bibliography
116. Index
119. Scotia IV [the present fisheries research ship]
119. Acknowledgements
Special Items
6. John Barrow / Clements Markham
7. The Fate of Franklin
34. Diesel Engines
51. Scurvy
56. Fridtjof Nansen
78. Voyage of Uruguay. 81. Aberdeen University
82. Admiralty Sailing Directions
82. Karluk Expedition
83. Musée Océanographique
83. Edinburgh Zoo
90. Coal gas
91. Salvesens of Leith
92. Web of Life
94. Sir John Murray
106. Port Lockroy
Naturally this book, given its title, stresses the Scottish side to Antarctic history with a primary focus on Bruce and the Scotia expedition. It's excellent for that; but it's also an excellent resource on the Antarctic in general (and to some extent the Arctic), and not only for students. Lots of good and interesting stuff.
--R. Stephenson
(28 May 2003)

WILLIAM SPEIRS BRUCE. POLAR EXPLORER AND SCOTTISH NATIONALIST by Peter Speak. (Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland Publishing, 2003) Numerous maps and black and white photographic illustrations. 144 pp. £9.99 paperback. ISBN 1-901663-71-X.

Peter Speak's book on Bruce appears during the centenary of the Scotia Expedition and coincides with an exhibition at Edinburgh's Royal Museum--The First Polar Hero: William Speirs Bruce--which runs through 7 June 2003 (see under 'Upcoming and Current Events' elsewhere on this site for more information). Speak's effort is the first biographical treatment since Rudmose Brown's A Naturalist at the Poles, which appeared in 1923, not long after Bruce's death.

Foreword (by Harry G.R. King, former Librarian, SPRI)
1. The Early Years
2. The Dundee Expedition
3. The Ben Nevis Interlude
4. Exploring the Arctic
5. Family Life
6. Preparations for a Scottish Expedition
7. The Scotia Expedition
8. The Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory
9. The Scottish Spitsbergen Syndicate
10. Final Endeavors
11. The Last Years
Appendix I. Selected Works by William Speirs Bruce
Appendix II. Chronology of Voyages
Appendix III. Awards and Prizes
General Index
Index of Ships
From the back cover--
William Speirs Bruce, the polar naturalist and fervent Scottish nationalist, 'was a man who had more than a little of the stuff that heroes are made of, a man who did great things with a quiet will and a gentle heart, who rarely got that public recognition which was the due of his achievements'. Born in London, Bruce elected to live and work in Scotland, immersing himself in the growing cultural renascence that served ironically to distance him from influential London-based scientific societies. Despite the unqualified success of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-04) and his remarkable scientific work in polar regions, Bruce was destined to remain in the shadow of the more illustrious explorers of the 'Heroic Age', Scott and Shackleton, and his commitment to science over sensationalism served only to deny him his rightful place in polar history. This book aims to bring the name of William Speirs Bruce to the fore once again and to examine the nature of Scotland's forgotten hero.
About the author: "Peter Speak, a Senior Research Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge, is an acknowledged expert on William Speirs Bruce and a long-serving Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society." Speak edited "The Log of the Scotia" which was issued by the Edinburgh University Press in 1992.

--R. Stephenson
(6 April 2003)

ANTARCTICA by Pat and Rosemarie Keough. (Salt Spring Island, British Columbia: Nahanni Productions, Inc., 2002) 330 color photographic illustrations and 15 duotones. 336 pp. 1000 copies issued at US$2900, bound in full goat, boxed. Website:

An elaborately produced special edition of Antarctic photographs. Not for the usual book buyer. An interview with the Keoughs, with some excerpts from the text, may be found in the current issue of 'The Seventh Continent' (Issue no. 13, Spring 2003), the newsletter of the Montreal Antarctic Society.

--R. Stephenson
(6 April 2003)

TRAIN OIL AND SNOTTERS; EATING ANTARCTIC WILD FOODS, Jeff Rubin. Appearing in Gastronomica - The Journal of Food and Culture. Vol 3, No 1, Winter 2003. Pp. 37-57. ISSN 1529-3262. (See

I was in the Boston Atheneaum yesterday and my friend Edie spied this journal while I was rummaging through the November 15, 1902 issue of The Boston Evening Transcript (another story altogether). Jeff Rubin--the author of the Lonely Planet Guide to Antarctica (see below)--has pulled together probably the [sea-] lion's share of historic references relating to the preparation, consumption and enjoyment--or not--of seals, penguins, whales, and even some Antarctic vegetation (all with the clear proviso that none can be sampled these days given the Antarctic Treaty). Perhaps Jeff can next have a look at all the many instances of food obsession that loom large in nearly every expedition account.
NOTE: A shorter version of this appeared in two parts in The Polar Times, vol. 3, no 1 (Spring-Summer 2002) and no 3 (Spring-Summer 2003).
—R. Stephenson
(6 March 2003)
UPDATE: Jeff's piece is now available at
(27 Janaury 2011)

SOUTH GEORGIA; GATEWAY TO ANTARCTICA by Ludwig Kohl-Larsen, translated by William Barr. (Bluntisham and Banham: Bluntisham Books and The Erskine Press, 2003) 294 pp. Black and white photographic illustrations. Folding map. ISBN 1-85297-075-8. £24.95/US$45.

"South Georgia has been an important gateway to the Continent for many of the early Antarctic expeditions but few have spent much time there. The early literature is mostly about science or whaling with little on the island itself. Whilst the sealers and whalers had explored the coast during the early part of the twentieth century, little was known of the interior or of the natural history of the island. Ludwig Kohl-Larsen spent the summer of 1927-8 camping on the island with his wife and a photographer, making the first film of the island and collecting a wide range of biological specimens. His account of this early and unusual adventure was published in German but has remained largely unknown and inaccessible until now."
--From the dustjacket.

List of Figures and Maps
Introduction by D.W.H. Walton
Select Bibliography of Books by Kohl-Larsen
1. To the Far South
2. Grytviken, the Wild West in the South
3. Our First Camp at Coal Harbour
4. In the Elephant Seal Colony
5. The Surrounding Landscape
6. Photography and Technology
7. The First Sledge Trip
8. The Final Days at Coal Harbour
9. Storms, Glaciers and Penguins at Bay of Isles
10. With the King Penguins on Lucas Glacier
11. Further Difficulties
12. Waiting for a Ship
13. Back with the Whalers at Grytviken
14. Hunting the Whale
15. Whales and Whalers
16. Our Trip Inland
17. Fossils, Penguins and Lakes
18. Lonely Annenkov Island is Our Next Goal!
19. Camp Life on Annenkov Island
20. Around the Entire Island with the Sealers Again
21. Farewell to Glaciers and King Penguins
22. Fresh Blows the Wind for Home!
Appendix. Maps
Another in the series of fine polar reprints and translations issued by Bluntisham/Erskine.
--R. Stephenson (15 February 2003)


From a recent e-mail from David Walton (Bluntisham Books):

"I thought I should tell you about two other titles in production . . . South Georgia: Gateway to Antarctica by Ludwig Kohl-Larsen is due out this autumn. The account in German of the private expedition to South Georgia in 1929 was translated by Bill Barr. The expedition explored parts of the island, collected natural history specimens and made the first film of South Georgia. Kohl-Larsen was originally the doctor on Otto Nordenskjöld's Swedish Antarctic Expedition but after an appendicitis was not fit to continue beyond South Georgia. Eventually he made it back there with his wife and a camera man.

RICHARD E. BYRD AND THE LEGACY OF POLAR EXPLORATION, Nelson D.Lankford, Editor; Warren R. Hofstra, Guest Editor. An entire issue of The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the quarterly journal of the Virginia Historical Society. Vol 110, No 2, 2002. [133]-258 pp. devoted to the subject. Numerous photographs and several maps. ISSN 0042-6636. Single issues: $5.50 plus $4.95 shipping and handling (see

An excellent effort with some new material particularly about Byrd's early life and Virginia roots.

From the Editor
Acknowledgments, by Warren R. Hofstra
Introduction, by Warren R. Hofstra
Richard E. Byrd's First Antarctic Expedition, by Eugene Rodgers
Exploring a Secret Land: The Literary and Technological Legacies of Richard E. Byrd, by Lisle A. Rose
Richard Byrd, Polar Exploration and the Media, by Robert N. Matuozzi
Historical Archaeology and the Byrd Legacy: The United States Antarctic Service Expedition, 1939-41, by Noel D. Broadbent and Lisle A. Rose

--R. Stephenson
(8 February 2003)

POLAR EXTREMES: THE WORLD OF LINCOLN ELLSWORTH by Beekman H. Pool. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2002) 312 pp. $45; $24.95 paperback. ISBN 1-889963-43-7. [Neither amazon nor the University of Alaska Press website has yet to list the book.]

My copy of Beekman Pool's long-awaited biography of his friend Lincoln Ellsworth arrived today. This is the first full-length biography of the American arctic and antarctic explorer. (Ellsworth's autobiography, Beyond Horizons, appeared in 1938. He died in 1951.) The bibliography is very extensive and should prove useful. There are numerous black and white photo illustrations, a few familiar but most either not previously published or uncommon.

From the bookjacket:

"Polar Extremes reveals the full story of Lincoln Ellsworth's triumphs in his quest for unknown land, first in the Arctic, then in Antarctica. Moving to and from the Poles, this saga is filled with colorful anecdotes and vivid quotations that recount the hero's tales of polar flights, crash landings, narrow escapes, and eventual triumphs. As impossible at it seems today, Ellsworth's 1926 attempt to fly across the North Pole with Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile was made in a dirigible. In 1935, he flew in his own custom-made plane over Antarctica and discovered the mountain range now called the Ellsworths.

A meticulously researched history and an adventure story fraught with life and death drama, the book is also a rich biographical portrait. Beekman Pool's sweeping view of twentieth-century polar exploration by air and sea is a story of daring, courage, and camaraderie, but also of the conflict, intrigue, and cunning that bedeviled polar explorers driven to be "the first." As Pool reveals the more intimate and personal side of Ellsworth's ambitious life, we understand the title Polar Extremes as a metaphor, suggesting the stark contrasts that define the passionate, but essentially lonely hero. For all his competitive zeal in traveling across forbidding ice, Ellsworth also sought nature's beauty far away from his father's world of finance and leisure.

An exciting book for any reader in search of adventure, Polar Extremes is also a valuable reference for historians, scholars, and polar exploration buffs seeking a well-documented history."

List of Illustrations
1. The Long Road North
2. The Big Trip
3. On the Ice
4. Undeclared Race
5. First Crossing of the Polar Sea
6. This Hero Business
7. Friends in Need
8. Plans and Diversions
9. Antarctica-Maiden Voyage
10. A Job to Do
11. Claiming Antarctica
12. Dreams Only
About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book) "Although a graduate of Harvard and Columbia Law School, Beekman Pool has always been more at home in the wilderness than in city streets. While still in college, he met Lincoln Ellsworth, whose approach to life was much like his. Although a generation separated them, they became close friends, journeying together up the wildest untouched river of northern Labrador. Pool has been a traveler in both Polar worlds, and a writer and lecturer on the life and art of the Canadian Inuit. Until his death in 1951, Ellsworth remained his friend and fellow enthusiast of the world of ice and snow. In World War II, Beekman Pool served at an 8th Army bomber base in England, both as service pilot and intelligence officer. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in New Hampshire with their dog, Lincoln."

A great effort and well worth the wait.
--R. Stephenson
(19 November 2002)

NOTE: A review appears on page 11 of the Spring-Summer 2003 issue of The Polar Times.
(2 September 2003)

SHACKLETON: AN IRISHMAN IN ANTARCTICA by Jonathan Shackleton and John MacKenna. (Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2002) 208 pp. €24.99 (£19.99 in UK). ISBN 1-84351-009-X. The Lilliput Press, 62-63 Sitric Road, Arbour Hill, Dublin 7, Ireland.
Published in the US by University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. $29.95. ISBN 0-299-18620-2.

I just received a copy from Jonathan during his visit to Boston 13-16 November. (He was there to speak to the Harvard Travellers Club at its 100th Anniversary dinner on the 15th. Sir Ernest and his son, Edward, both spoke to the Club so Jonathan was carrying on the family tradition.)

The book is so new--apparently it's not even in the shops yet--that the publisher's website doesn't even include it. Unclear what the price is as it's not noted on the dustjacket.

It's a very nicely produced volume, well-illustrated with lots of material never published before. Some pluses: Very good end-paper maps showing the route and highpoints of each of Shackleton's four Antarctic expeditions. A Shackleton family tree starting with Roger Shackleton of Yorkshire (d. 1597) and coming forward to the present generation of direct descendants. A comprehensive two-page annotated Shackleton bibliography.

From the bookjacket:

"EIGHTY YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH, the legend of Ernest Shackleton and the extraordinary story of the Endurance South Pole expedition still hold a compelling grip on the public imagination. Trapped in drifting polar pack ice, Ernest Shackleton and his crew fought for survival against all the odds. When the Endurance was finally crushed, they were stranded on ice-floes for more than a year before reaching Elephant Island in April 1916. From there Shackleton and his five men embarked on the most remarkable rescue mission in maritime history, sailing to South Georgia across eight hundred miles of the world's roughest seas in a small open boat.

Despite failing to realize his dream of reaching the South Pole, Shackleton's story lives on because of his unique qualities of leadership and the fact that all his men survived. This compelling narrative reveals the profound influence of Shackleton's Irish and Quaker roots, offering a vivid portrait of a man whose ambition was tempered by his flawed humanity and egalitarianism. Here too are the untold stories of Shackleton's upbringing in Kildare; his time in the Merchant Navy; his 1901 voyage on the Discovery with Scott; his 1907 Nimrod expedition; his marriage and love affairs; his life as public figure and politician; and the haunting story of his final, fatal expedition on the Quest.

Drawing on family records, diaries and letters--and hitherto unpublished photographs and archive material--this mesmerizing biography takes us beyond the myth to Shackleton the man, for whom 'Optimism is true moral courage,' and whose greatest triumph was that of life over death.

Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica, is lavishly illustrated with over a hundred photographs, maps and engravings, some of them appearing in print for the first time."

JONATHAN SHACKLETON, Antarctic specialist and cousin of the explorer, is a leading expert on the life and achievements of Ernest Shackleton. He has voyaged to Antarctica on many occasions, as a guide and lecturer. He gardens and lives with his family in Co. Cavan.

JOHN MacKENNA is a Kildare-born, award-winning short-story writer, novelist, biographer and broadcaster. He is author of The Fallen and other stories, Clare, A Year of Our Lives, The Last Fine Summer, The Occasional Optimist, The Lost Village and A Haunted Heart.

Irish Family Background
Merchant Navy Years 1890 - 1901
Antarctica and Polar Exploration
South with Scott 1901 - 1903
Shackleton at Home 1903 - 1907
The Nimrod 1907 - 1909
Knighthood and the Public Man 1909 - 1914
The Endurance and Aurora 1914 - 1917
Shackleton and the Great War 1917 - 1921
The Quest 1921 - 1922
The Legend
Bibliography & Recommended Reading
Acknowledgments & Illustration Credits

A good addition to any polar library.
--R. Stephenson
(17 November 2002)

UPDATE: According to Jonathan's brother (Jonathan's in the Antarctic at the moment) the book is now being reprinted so it must be a great and early success.
--R. Stephenson
(22 December 2002)

Previous Notes from Books Due:
Jonathan Shackleton is nearing completion of his book on his famous ancestor and the Irish branch of the Shackleton family. Title: Shackleton: an Irishman in Antarctica. It's due to appear in Ireland this year, one hopes in time for the Shackleton weekend at Athy. An American edition (University of Wisconsin Press) is set for the spring of 2003.
(7 October 2002)
UPDATE: Jonathan e-mails: "My book has gone to the printers and some copies may be available for the Shackleton weekend in Athy but it now won't be launched until November."
(19 October 2002)

THE SHACKLETON VOYAGES; A PICTORIAL ANTHOLOGY OF THE POLAR EXPLORER AND EDWARDIAN HERO introduced by Roland Huntford. (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2002) [288] pp. £25. ISBN 0 297 84316 8. Picture research and captions by Julie Summers. Design and art direction by David Rowley.

Previously appearing under 'Books Due and Works-in-Progress':
A recent e-mail from Ireland relates that "A man in my local bank sent me a flier yesterday from a Book Club advertising [Roland Huntford's new book on Shackleton. Title is "The Shackleton Voyages." Irish price seems to be EUR40.32."
(19 October 2002)
From the bookjacket:
"This pictorial anthology celebrates the life of Ernest Shackleton, a major protagonist in the heroic age of Antarctic exploration at the beginning of the twentieth century. He is best known for his legendary third expedition Endurance, but Shackleton also undertook three other expeditions, each enthralling in its own way but none achieving the goal it set out to reach. Charm, charismatic leadership and dogged determination ensured Shackleton became a hero in his own lifetime.

Each chapter explores a period of Shackleton's life and is introduced by Roland Huntford's illuminating text and accompanied by a host of photographs, drawings and diary extracts, many hitherto unpublished. Shackleton's restless, independent spirit surfaced early and his wit and courage captivated and inspired financial backers as well as his 'men' during their bleakest of moments. When he lost the race to the South Pole, first to the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 1911 and then to his arch rival Captain Scott in 1912, he set his sights on crossing Antarctica. Once again he failed, but he turned disaster into success by returning with all the men under his command alive. After a couple of years of slavish lecturing and writing to pay off his debts in the downbeat post-war years, he raised the funds and enthusiasm for a final expedition - Quest. A romantic to the end, as Quest reached South Georgia, he died of a heart attack, aged only forty-seven.

However, his death lacked the glory of Scott's death; only recently has Shackleton's reputation emerged from Scott's shadow. Shackleton never forgave Scott for invaliding him home after their attempt to reach the South Pole in 1902-3; in part this anger was the driving force behind Shackleton's repeated expeditions to Antarctica. Shackleton proved he could endure severe climates and wild, inhospitable terrain, but above all he displayed an exceptional talent for leadership and fanatical determination which led him, as he put it, 'to go on going till one day I shall not come back'."

1. The Early Years and the Mercantile Marine
2. South with Scott on Discovery 1901-3
3. Nimrod and Near Success on the Polar Plateau 1907-9
4. Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Celebrity
5. Endurance and the Aurora Relief Expedition 1914-17
6. Quest: the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition 1921-2
Picture Credits
Acknowledgements and Author's Selected Reading

I haven't had a chance to read the book yet but here are some initial comments:

A large format book, somewhat along the same lines as the recently published book on Hurley's photographs 'South with Endurance'. Although many of the photos are well known there are certainly some that I personally have not seen before, especially those from the Discovery expedition. The photos are in the main well reproduced and the design of the book is attractive. However, the book is somewhat spoilt by the poor quality of many of the photograph captions. Much of the time they are just too general - it would have been useful to have more detailed information about each photo, including photographer, location and date where known. For example, in many cases there is no identification of expedition members, even when Shackleton himself is included the photo! Also, in some places the captions are just plain wrong (for example the well-known Hurley photo of Alf Cheetham hoisting the ensign on Endurance is stated to be Reginald James).
--D. Hood
(29 November 2002)

'HELL WITH A CAPITAL H'; AN EPIC STORY OF ANTARCTIC SURVIVAL by Katherine Lambert. (London: Pimlico, 2002) 208 pp. £12.50 paperback. ISBN 0-7126-7995-2. With an introduction by Peter King.

"This is the story of the six members of the Northern Party of Scott's 1910-1913 expedition who were forced to overwinter in a snow cave when their ship, the Terra Nova, was unable to pick them up. The account draws on the previously unpublished diaries of Levick, Browning, Abbot and Dickason as well as existing publications of Campbell and Priestly. The title refers to a remark made by Campbell to one of the party."

I Terra Nova to Terra Incognita
II 'Perfidious Amundsen' and the Bay of Wales
III Confinement at Cape Adare
IV Working the Glaciers from Evans Coves
V The Igloo on Inexpressible Island
VI The Long Haul to Cape Evans
VII The Return
An Antarctic Gazetteer
--D. Hood
(29 November 2002)
"On 29 March 1912, as Scott and his two companions lay dying in their tent, elsewhere on the polar ice-cap six members of his ill-fated expedition were fighting for their lives. This was the so-called Northern Party, hand-picked by Scott to undertake his most significant programme of scientific research. The unsung hero of this group was Dr Murray Levick, whose attention to diet and mental and physical fitness played a major part in their survival. The doctor was a sensitive recorder and a talented photographer; it is on his previously unpublished diaries, monographs, photographs and sketches that this book is based.

The six men were landed by Terra Nova in January 1911 at Cape Adare, 450 miles north of Scott's base camp at Cape Evans. They spent nearly a year there, living in a rudimentary hut, surveying and collecting specimens from the beautiful but inhospitable bay and shoreline fringed by inaccessible mountains. The party was then dropped off mid-way between the two Capes to continue their work. The ship was due to pick them up on 17 February 1912. A month later she still hadn't come, and the men were forced to face the Antarctic winter in an igloo dug out of a snowdrift on 'Inexpressible Island'. After spending six-and-a-half months entombed in their underground ice-cave, in conditions of unimaginable physical and mental hardship, the men--suffering by now from dysentery and near-starvation--embarked on a 37-day, 230-mile journey to an unknown end. They reached Cape Evans on 6 November 1912, only to learn the devastating news of the loss of their leader.

With hindsight it is clear that, although it was swamped by the drama and sense of national loss after the death of Scott and his companions, this is one of the greatest survival stories to come out of the heroic age of polar exploration. Scott's Polar Party endured terrible sufferings and did not survive. That the Northern Party not only survived but, in the opinion of one observer, managed to weld themselves into a castiron team, was nothing short of a miracle."

--From the back cover.
(15 February 2003)

UPDATE: I recently finished this book and must say how enjoyable I found it. I also learned a lot. It's been years since I read Priestley's 'Antarctic Adventure' and frankly the Northern Party has never received anywhere near the attention that it deserved. It's always seems to have been overshadowed by other events. (This started right from the beginning with the decision to search for the Polar Party, which had obviously perished, and not the Northern Party, which had at least a chance of surviving the winter.) I particularly liked learning more about Murray Levick who emerged as the key member of the party. I'm now stirred to at least think about reading his 'Antarctic Penguins' which I've had on my shelves, unopened, since 1971!
--R. Stephenson
(14 December 2003)

I AM JUST GOING OUTSIDE by Michael Smith. The Collins Press/Spellmount Publishers. Due for publication in late September or October 2002.
Michael Smith's new book on Capt L.E.G. Oates is now set to appear. His previous book--An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor--has done very well and one would expect the same to happen with his treatment of Oates.
--R. Stephenson
(15 June 2002)

UPDATE: Michael e-mailed on 4 October to say the book has arrived.
Here are some details from a flyer picked up at the recent Christie's sale:

I AM JUST GOING OUTSIDE (The Old Rectory, Staplehurst, Kent TN12 0AZ: Spellmount Publishers, 2002) £20 including postage and packing. ISBN: 1-86227-178-X.

Captain Lawrence 'Titus' Oates is arguably the most romantic of all the polar explorers. The manner of his death was such that it was used as an example of British stoicism and self-sacrifice to encourage the soldiers on the Western Front and he quickly became a national hero. However, the man himself remains an enigma.

Oates was an outsider on Scott's fatal Polar Expedition. The only soldier on a predominantly naval venture, he was the son and nephew of explorers (his uncle, Frank Oates, died in Africa having been one of the first Europeans to reach the Victoria Falls). Already a hero of the Boer War (he was recommended for the Victoria Cross and seriously wounded leaving one leg shorter than the other), he had served with the army in both Ireland and India, before paying £1000 (£47,000 today) to join Scott's doomed expedition.

Oates' overbearing mother was one of the first people to question the myth of Scott's heroic failure on the basis of the letters that she received from Oates from Antarctica and the critical entries in his diary. On her death she ordered all his letters and the diary to be destroyed and everyone believed that this had happened. However, before dutifully carrying out her mother's last request, Oates' sister Violet managed to copy some of the entries and Michael Smith has had access to this previously unknown and undisclosed material.

I am Just Going Outside is the first biography of the iconic Captain 0ates to be written for over thirty years. Through diligent research Michael Smith has unearthed sensational new revelations about Oates' private life which, until now, have been kept from the public to protect his reputation. Beautifully illustrated with maps and photographs, many of which are previously unpublished, I am Just Going Outside is the most complete portrait of the heroic Captain Oates ever to have been written and a lasting testimony to a brave but flawed man.

Michael Smith has a long-standing interest in Polar exploration and is the author of the bestselling biography An Unsung Hero - Tom Crean.

(4 October 2002)

UPDATE: A copy arrived today (15 October). The full title: I AM JUST GOING OUTSIDE; CAPTAIN OATES -- ANTARCTIC TRAGEDY. 301 pp. Numerous black and white photographic illustrations, many of which are uncommon or not previously published, maps. (See above for additional publication details). The website of the publisher is: e-mail:

1. Deep roots
2. Mother's boy
3. A place in the country
4. Lord of the Manor
5. A call to arms
6. A blast of war
7. No surrender
8. The bells of St Mary's
9. A piece of flotsam
10. The great escape
11. Terra Incognita
12. A fatal mistake
13. A race for the Pole
14. A load of crocks
15. Footprints in the snow
16. The seeds of destruction
17. Friends and enemies
18. '. . . there is no cause for anxiety. . .'
19. To the last place on earth
20. Wrong man, wrong place
21. The abyss of defeat
22. 'God help us. . .'
23. The ultimate sacrifice
24. A very gallant gentleman
25. Bitter memories
26. A second tragedy
Chapter Notes
Archive sources and abbreviations
Newspapers, magazines, periodicals
Unpublished diaries, documents, interviews, letters
This looks like a solid addition to the recent flurry of polar books. For once, Shackleton doesn't loom large. Once I read it, I'll add more.
--R. Stephenson
(15 October 2002)

POLAR REACHES; THE HISTORY OF ARCTIC AND ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION by Richard Sale. (London: HarperCollins and Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2002) 224 pp. $29.95. ISBN 0-89886-873-4

The Arctic
Before the heroes came
Passages to Cathay
Explorers in the west
Explorers in the east
Striving for the pole
Before the heroes came
Hunters in the south
Science heads south
Striving for the pole
Selected bibliography
Profusely illustrated, as they say, with an occasional photograph that I've not seen before. More arctic than antarctic. Although I haven't spent much careful time with the book, it appears to be a good overall treatment of the poles and their exploration.
--R. Stephenson
(1 September 2002)

THE IMPERIAL TRANS-ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION (Facsimile of the Expedition Prospectus] by Sir Ernest H. Shackleton. (Leesburg, Virginia: RAREnterprises, Inc., 109 Loudoun Street SW, Leesburg, Virginia 20175 USA) Printed by letterpress by The Sun Hill Press, North Brookfield, Massachusetts. [32] pp, text printed in red and black, map and plan of the Endurance tipped in. Limited to 1,000 numbered copies. $75.

The publisher's website is:

A very nicely produced facsimile of the quite scarce fund raising prospectus put together by Shackleton in 1914. A copy went for £6500 at Christie's last polar sale (25 September 2001, Lot 186A). The original used as the basis for this facsimile is the first state or edition as identified by Michael Rosove (307.A2)(see entry for Rosove's bibliography below), i.e. with the inclusion of John King Davis as captain of the Endurance. The original and the facsimile are distinguished by handsome design, typography and letterpress printing; it seems clear that Shackleton alone of all Antarctic explorers was both knowledgeable about such matters and held them in high stead.

This is the only facsimile publication of an Antarctic ephemeral item that I can immediately think of. Let's hope more appear.

Origin of the Expedition
The Trans-Continental Party
Scientific Work by other Parties
How the Continent will by Crossed
The Ships of the Expedition
Finances: The Help that is Wanted
The Leader and the Staff
Expert Views
Tributes from the Press
--R. Stephenson
(28 August 2002)

THE DIARY OF LIEUTENANT CHARLES W R ROYDS RN EXPEDITION TO THE ANTARCTIC 1901-1904 'Bedervale', (Braidwood, N.S.W., Australia: T. Roger Royds, 2001) 373 pp, charts (one folding), sketches, tables, black and white photo illustrations, endpaper maps. Dark blue cloth, silver gilt titles and spine, portrait photograph on upper cover. Limited to 150 numbered copies. ISBN 0-9580070-0-4. AUS$90.

This publication is mainly for family members but may be available to others although only a limited number of copies was produced. Any true Antarctican should want it though, as it's a significant addition to any polar library.

Foreword, by Sir Richard Eyre [Royds' grandson]
Preface, by Roger Royds
The National Antarctic Expedition
Scientific Aims
The "Discovery"
The Officers, Scientists and Crew
To Penetrate the Unknown Antarctic - The Dundee Advertiser
DIARY [From 7 August 1901 (p 29) through 10 September 1904 (p. 366)]
--R. Stephenson
(28 August 2002)

THE RESCUE OF CAPTAIN SCOTT by Don Aldridge. (The Mill House, Phantassie, East Linton, East Lothian EH40 3DG Scotland: The Tuckwell Press Ltd., 1999) 215 pp, 50 black and white illustrations, 2 maps, crew check lists, references, index. ISBN 1 86232 070 5. UK £20.
This narrative gives the background to the building of the Discovery in Dundee, examining links between whaling, polar ships, marine engineering, and polar ice rescues.

It recounts the remarkable exploits of Dundee's ice master, Captain Harry McKay, whose experience of rescuing ships locked in pack ice with the aid of his new explosive techniques made him the Admiralty's choice to free Captain Scott aboard Discovery from this fate in the Antarctic in 1904.

The author's research in Dundee, New Zealand and Australia has uncovered unpublished material including photographs and diaries from the two rescue ships and reveals for the first time how Merchant Navy Captains - McKay of the Terra Nova and Colbeck of the Morning - blasted 18 miles of ice to free Scott. It is one of the most incredible Antarctic feats ever performed but it has been overlooked for close on a century.

The book has a darker side and tells how Discovery's inexperienced leader consigned the two superbly experienced and competent captains, McKay and Colbeck, to oblivion and became a national hero in their stead. It is a study in mythmaking. Eye witnesses contrast the false heroics, boasting, paranoia and maniacal insistence on Royal Navy discipline aboard Discovery with the work of the other two ships' captains, whose patient progress in getting the job done was achieved with great skill and supreme seamanship.

In 1984 Don Aldridge, recognised as the person who introduced interpretation planning to the UK, respected for his work with the Countryside Commission for Scotland, and who for over thirty years has lived and worked in Dundee's hinterland, was commissioned to make a comprehensive study to look at Dundee's potential for interpretation.

Aldridge lamented the fact that Dundee had for so long turned its back on its superb river frontage and he stressed the maritime and polar themes. It was learned that the RRS Discovery might be available, but only if action was taken quickly and Aldridge had given total justification for bringing Discovery back to her home city. One year's hard work raising finance and clearing legal hurdles was rewarded by the sight of Discovery sailing up the Tay Estuary, cheered by thousands of people on the shore. This bestowed the title "City of Discovery" on Dundee, a title used for projecting excellence in technology and education and many other positive activities which lay ahead.

Between 1984 and 1993, the waterfront proposals took shape with a dock for Discovery and heritage centre alongside. Don Aldridge worked on the research, interpretation and scripting for the designers of Discovery Point, including the script for the spectacular audio-visual programme. His researches unearthed the story of why Scott had to come to Dundee to get the ship built and the incredible fact that had it not been for a Dundee whaling captain, Discovery would have been lost in the Antarctic in 1904. At the opening of Discovery Point on 1st July 1993, the Duke of Edinburgh wondered who was responsible for the idea. Few of those crammed into the foyer to hear his opening speech knew the answer!

This book came to be written in response to requests made by the visiting public who had been intrigued to hear the rescue story and who wanted to know more about Harry McKay. Why was there not a statue of him in front of Discovery Point? Why have his exploits been covered up, even in his own city? And who was responsible for covering up the truth and even snubbing the entire ship's company of McKay's Terra Nova Rescue Expedition? After more than a decade of painstaking research, mostly in Australian and New Zealand archives, Don Aldridge has vindicated McKay and tells the story of one of the greatest feats in Antarctic history.

--The above is taken from the book jacket blurb, and from Jeff Lonsdale's Foreword. Thanks to Paul Youngs, Edinburgh, Scotland, for sending it on.
25 August 2002

I have the book but have yet to read it. I will say that the photo illustrations, although many are new to me, are very poorly reproduced. Some Antarcticans have been critical of the tone.
--R. Stephenson
25 August 2002

Judy Skelton has kindly sent for inclusion a review she did for Antarctic, the Journal of the New Zealand Antarctic Society, Vol 18, No. 1, 2000.

It is Don Aldridge's contention that the official version of how Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic exploration vessel 'Discovery' was relieved and released from the ice of McMurdo Sound in early 1904 is a deliberately created myth. His book seeks to set the record straight by restoring the role of Captain Harry McKay and the Scottish crew of his Dundee whaling ship 'Terra Nova' to what he argues is its true prominence.

The heart of the book is Aldridge's detailed account of the events of the forty day period between the arrival of the two relief ships, 'Morning' and 'Terra Nova', at McMurdo Sound in January 1904 and the day 'Discovery' was able to move from her anchorage off Hut Point for the first time in two years. Aldridge argues that the 'Terra Nova' played a critical role in breaking the ice, through continually butting it and exploding strategically placed charges to produce cracks which McKay calculated would then be further broken by the action of the waves and currents of the Ross Sea, the relief ships subsequently helping to sweep the broken ice out of the way before tackling the next stretch in the same manner. Aldridge portrays Scott as covertly resisting such rescue attempts with every device in his power and describes why and how, in his view, Scott then falsified the record and successfully wrote McKay and 'Terra Nova' out of the script.

The author tries to give his book every appearance of a scholarly work. It is packed with quotations, many from primary sources, each with a detailed reference to the original. Unfortunately the work is seriously flawed and cannot sustain this scholarly image. There are errors of fact and the majority of quotations I checked against their original sources were found to be inaccurately reproduced, in a significant number of cases sufficiently so as to lay the author open to charges of deliberate misrepresentation. In his introduction, Aldridge claims to provide "quotations straight from the pages of the original, not from the imaginary observations honed into shape in some much admired beautiful prose". I don't think so, Mr Aldridge. As I shall show below, imagination would appear to have played its part after all.

I shall content myself with two examples of misquotations. The first, perhaps one of the most startling examples in the book, is a reference to Captain Scott's own published account of the expedition, The Voyage of the Discovery, published by Smith and Elder in 1905. The passage referred to is from Volume II, page 336. I have underlined the words which differ as between the quotation and the source. Aldridge, p 112

"Scott then let slip an amazing and revealing turn of phrase:

"'Went up the hill shortly after Koettlitz and was most agreeably disappointed to find open water just round the edge of the glacier.'" [my italics] Scott, The Voyage of the Discovery, Vol II, p 336

"Went up the hill with Koettlitz and saw a most cheering sight. The ice has broken away well inside the glacier."

This is a most significant variation because Aldridge uses this quotation to uphold his argument that Scott was resisting rescue. He presents it as a Freudian slip revealing Scott's true desires. The correct rendering permits no such interpretation.

My second example comes from Volume VII of the Antarctic journals of Reginald Skelton, Chief Engineer of 'Discovery', (held in the archives of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge) and describes how the ship's company, before the arrival of the relief ships, attempted to break the ice by sawing.

Aldridge, p 88: "Skelton called the sawing: "'the most fearful waste of time one could possibly think of. One would think Armitage was entirely devoid of common sense, but he is just carrying out orders!'"

Skelton's 'Discovery' Journal, Volume VII (pages are unnumbered)

"It was certainly the most fearful waste of time one could possibly think of. One would think Armitage was entirely devoid of common sense, and that his only idea was to say that he had carried out orders, as a matter of fact I'm sure his orders were to only do something that would be of use and that was to be a practical working scheme, above everything else."

The change in this quotation plainly alters the sense, again in such a way as to lend greater support to Aldridge's argument. Skelton is clearly criticising Armitage here but Aldridge turns the passage into an implied criticism of Scott. If it is inexcusable to misquote from a published source, which can be verified by the committed reader relatively readily, it must be unforgivable to do so with unpublished material beyond the reach of most readers to check. Surely the writer, who after all is avowedly committed to revealing a hidden truth, has a special responsibility to his readers to treat his unpublished sources with scrupulous accuracy.

Some of Aldridge's errors of fact are surprising, given that they concern information which is well known and available from a variety of published sources. He makes the following statement: Aldridge, p 91

"(Of the hundred men [the combined ships' companies of 'Discovery', 'Morning' and 'Terra Nova'] with Scott that day only five did volunteer to go with him again on his Antarctic expedition of 1910-1913, and only one of them was an officer.)"

There were, in fact, six of 'Discovery's' own ship's company who actually went with Scott on his later expedition. They were (none of them officers):

Thomas Crean
Edgar Evans
William Heald
William Lashly
Thomas Williamson
Edward Wilson

A seventh man, Reginald Skelton - an officer, also volunteered for the expedition. The fact that he did not go was not through any lack of desire on his part to accompany Scott.

In addition, there were three members of the 'Morning's' ship's company who went on the 1910-1913 expedition with Scott:

Lt E R G R Evans (officer)
William Knowles
James Paton

So, of the 100 men Aldridge speaks of, there were ten, rather than five, who volunteered to go in 1910, but among the 'Discovery' people, who must be credited with knowing Scott rather better than those in the other ships, there was a total of seven volunteers (approximately 19%) of the 37 who were aboard 'Discovery' at this time besides Scott himself, a considerably more impressive proportion.

Apart from the book's shortcomings illustrated above, I believe it also loses credibility through its extremely unbalanced treatment of Captain Scott. It seems to me that, in his attempt to right the wrongs he regards as having been done to Colbeck (Captain of 'Morning'), and above all McKay, Aldridge is so concerned to knock Scott off his hero's pedestal that he does not allow him even to be human, with strengths as well as weaknesses. Scott must be made into an evil genius, incapable of achieving anything worthwhile. After describing him as having been a good student, aged 13, at the Royal Naval College, Aldridge's subsequent references to Scott are unremittingly negative. The following example, where Scott's character is slurred by implication rather than any concrete evidence, is typical.

Aldridge, p 69: "to placate Admiralty criticism, Shackleton followed the illustrious example of his Commander and wove yet another fictional story"

By now, controversy as to the true character and achievements of Captain Scott is not merely a matter of esoteric debate among specialists but has also become public property. I believe that there is value in trying to establish as accurate an account as possible and, from that point of view, a book fulfilling the aims of this one should be welcome.

I will not venture an opinion as to whether or not Aldridge's account of 'Discovery's' release from the ice has truth on its side but his abuse of the sources he quotes so liberally and the other shortcomings of his book seem to me more likely to engender doubt than inspire confidence in his argument. I'm sure Don Aldridge meant to delight Dundonians with his tale of the unsung hero McKay and his ship 'Terra Nova', but for me this book merely succeeds in undermining its own credibility.

(10 September 2006)

VODKA ON ICE; A YEAR WITH THE RUSSIANS IN ANTARCTICA by Charles Swithinbank. (Sussex: The Book Guild, Ltd., 2002) 165 pp, 64 color plates, 6 black and white illustrations, 5 maps, notes, glossary, appendix, index. ISBN 1857766466. UK £22; worldwide £23/$33 (surface) or £26/$37 (airmail).

The fourth and final autobiographical title by the 'grand old man' of British Antarctic exploration. The previous: An Alien in Antarctica (Blacksburg, Virginia: McDonald & Woodward Publishing Co., 1997), Forty Years on the Ice (Sussex: The Book Guild, Ltd., 1998) and Foothold on Antarctica (Sussex: The Book Guild, Ltd., 1999).
Note: One may obtain any of these directly from Charles at 7 Home End, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB1 5BS, UK. E-mail: Web:

The following review appeared in the June 2002 issue of the Newsletter of The Antarctican Society. It was written by John Splettstoesser who has kindly allowed its appearance here.

At last we have the fourth and final(?) volume on the professional career of the author, one of the world's foremost glaciologists. This volume is an account of his wintering period with the Russians at the base Novolazarevskaya in 1963-65, including time at Mirnyy, Vostok, and Molodezimaya in the summer. Charles was an exchange scientist at the time, no easy feat in gaining that position, but for him it was the chance of a lifetime to live in an area of Antarctica in which he had the opportunity to measure ice movement where no one had done so before, interact with Russians who accepted him as one of their own (eventually), and learn to converse in a language that to him was virtually unknown at the beginning of his assignment. This book is not a scientific account of his time there, but instead is an interesting story about life in a remote part of Antarctica with 13 others from a country with politics that are totally different from much of the world. Charles was very much aware that once the last ship left, he was there for a year and there was no way out if anything went wrong. By the time his year was up, he was fluent in Russian, even presenting a summary of his work in Russian before the Director of the Arctic & Antarctic Institute in St. Petersburg on his return. He also taught classes in English for some of the Russians. The wintering meant personal sacrifice, leaving a wife, two children, and a third on the way for an extended period of time. It also meant improvising his field work as needs arose, including equipment, supplies, and anything else to perform his research. Numerous color photographs on glossy paper tell much of the story. Food on the ships en route, and at the station, were mostly routine and 'Russian', but even for a young man used to English cooking, was part of the hardship. After his return, loading up on long-awaited meat and protein produced gastrointestinal problems that took some time to overcome. Days of nothing but boiled potatoes, and the ever-present 'compote' (dark 'mystery' broth) at many meals, interrupted by cabbage soup, caviar, 'cardboard fish', and similar delicacies, took a toll on Charles. A parallel experience might be being released from prison following wartime, and finally getting back to a normal diet.

Because of Charles's earlier experience and background, already proving himself as a scientist on the Norwegian-British -Swedish Antarctic Expedition, 1949-52, in Queen Maud Land and with the U.S. Antarctic Program, he fit in well with fellow Russian colleagues who also had considerable polar experience. One of Charles's talents that made him useful was his experience as a 'driver' of tractors to transport equipment between Soviet supply ships and bases--apparently Russians never considered that to be a vital part of their required experience, and Charles was good at it. Charles includes in this book some of the political and ideological differences that produced a few divisions between him and the wintering crew, but they remained minor. As polyarniks are aware, once on the ice, politics and nationalities become insignificant. He took part in Russian holiday celebrations, attended political meetings, all the while gaining a feeling for the lives that his cohorts lived full-time back in their native country. There appeared to be no complainers, however, as the Russians took life as it came without complaint. Many of the friendships gained during his experience lasted throughout later life, as Charles maintained correspondence with several of the men, although what appeared to be guarded messages and letters he received indicated that the overriding policy of government censorship, and his friends' awareness of it, dampened the situation.

This book is required reading for those interested in the life of an experienced polar researcher, as well as the politics and interactions of the experience. It is available from book dealers and the publisher (The Book Guild Ltd, Sussex, U.K.ISBN 1 85776 646 6, 2002, 165 p.), as well as from Charles directly in Cambridge, U.K. Write to him at 7 Home End, Fulbourn, Cambridge CBI 5BS, U.K., with a check for $33 (surface mail) or $37 (air mail), which includes shipping, and receive an autographed copy.

ANTARCTICA, 1772-1922; FREESTANDING PUBLICATIONS THROUGH 1999. by Michael H. Rosove. (Santa Monica, California: Adélie Books, 2001) 28 cm, quarter buffalo, linen, gilt, high-quality, acid-free papers, Smyth-sewn, headbands. pp. xxxii, 537; 10 plate leaves (5 colored). Limited edition of 500 numbered copies, all similarly bound and signed by the author on the limitation leaf. ISBN 0-9705386-0-X. Price: "US$150 (domestic), more overseas at the bookseller's discretion."

This new bibliography, the latest word on Antarctica's classical and heroic periods, is the result of ten years' research including the examination of private collections, booksellers' holdings, and the repositories of twelve of the world's most important libraries and archives (Scott Polar Research Institute, Royal Geographical Society, Royal Society, British Library, Bibliothèque Nationale, Mawson Collection, Baker Library at Dartmouth, Hill Collection, Scripps Oceanographical Institute, UCLA, Huntington Library, and Library of Congress), aided by bibliographies, twenty years' booksellers' catalogues, and computerized data bases.

The bibliography contains many rare and virtually unknown publications and clarifies innumerable obscure points of interest. Included are all publications in the original language of the author and English-language translations. (Non-English translations are given in brief.) Given are all contemporary publications (prospectuses, narratives, science) and selected post-contemporary publications (memorials, diaries, autobiographies, biographies, analyses, bibliographies, references, humanities) in all identified editions, printings, and variants, with binding and collation details, bibliographical references, ISBN, rarity, original price, and referenced commentary. Less important post-contemporary publications are listed in brief. Author/editor, title, and subject indexes are provided.

About the author: Michael Rosove has had an interest in Antarctica for over twenty years and has made several trips to high south latitudes. He is the author of Let Heroes Speak: Antarctic Explorers, 1772-1922 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000), a critically lauded history now scheduled for release in paperback (New York: Penguin Putnam, Berkley Publishing). Dr. Rosove is Clinical Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

NOTE: This is the long-awaited bibliography that Michael has been working on for ages. It will probably become the standard bibliography for collectors of Antarcticana, supplementing--indeed supplanting--'Spence' and the the more recent 'Conrad' and 'Taurus' (just issued). Due out soon.
--R. Stephenson
(10 October 2001)

UPDATE: My copy arrived yesterday--the day after the 'South Polar Times' (see below), so it's been an exciting Antarctic weekend! Michael's book is ABSOLUTELY STUPENDOUS, far bigger, better and more impressive than one could ever imagine. This is THE book for any Antarctican, book collector or not. The production is first rate, but it is the content that is so amazing in its detail and breadth. I've seen no bibliography in any field or of any era that comes close to this effort. This is a marvelous achievement and we should all be grateful to Michael for undertaking it and bringing it too such a magnificent conclusion (actually, he invites comments and contributions and intends " publish an "Additions and Corrections" supplement at some future date.").

Here's some additional information:

Publisher: Adélie Books, P. O. Box 3356, Santa Monica, CA 90408.
E-mail inquiries:

On the copyright page: "Text set in Monotype Bembo. Printed by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Text on 60-pound Finch Opaque Cream White (vellum finish), high-opacity, acid-free paper. Plates on 70-pound EB Satin, high-opacity, acid-free paper. Bound by Kater-Crafts Bookbinders, Pico Rivera, California."


List of Plates [1. The attainment of the South Pole (showing the spines of Amundsen's 'Sydpolen' and 'Scott's Last Expedition'). 2. Amundsen's 'Sydpolen,' Part I from the original 40 parts. 3. The first Russian edition of Bellingshausen's voyage. 4. Two narratives of the first landing on the Antarctic continent (Bull and Kristensen). 5. The entire wrapper from Charcot's narrative of his first expedition. 6. The first book containing a firsthand account of the Antarctic regions, by John Marra, published anonymously. 7. The "first edition" and "approved edition" Royal Society manuals. 8. The first book printed and bound in Antarctica ('Aurora Australis'). 9. The signed double leaf from 'The Antarctic Book.' 10. The title leaf from Shirase's 'Nankyoku-ki.']

Preface [8 pages. Dated 20 August 2001. All the necessary sources, acknowledgments, abbreviations, the 'taxonomy' employed, etc.]

List of Voyages and Expeditions [12 pages. Very useful descriptions of the following 29 voyages/expeditions: 1. James Cook in the 'Resolution' and 'Adventure' (1772-75). 2. Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen in the 'Vostok' and 'Mirny' (1819-21). 3. Sealing and Early Scientific Voyages (1819-30). 4. John Biscoe (1830-33), John Balleny (1838-39) and the Enderby Voyages (1830-50). 5. Jules S.-C. Dumont D'Urville in the 'Astrolabe' and the 'Zélée' (1837-40). 6. Charles Wilkes and the United States Exploring Expedition (1838-42). 7. James Clark Ross in the 'Erebus' and 'Terror' (1839-43). 8. Thomas E. L. Moore in the 'Pagoda' (1844-45). 9. Edouard Dallman in the Grönland (1872-74). 10. The Dundee Whaling Expedition (1892-93). 11. Carl A. Larsen in the 'Jason,' 'Hertha,' and 'Castor' (1892-94) 12. Henryk Johan Bull in the 'Antarctic' (1893-95). 13. Adrien de Gerlache and the Voyage of the 'Belgica' (1897-99). 14. Carsten E. Borchegrevink and the Voyage of the 'Southern Cross' (1898-1900). 15. Robert F. Scott and the National Antarctic Expedition (1901-4). 16. Erich von Drygalski and the German National Antarctic Expedition (1901-3). 17. Otto Nordenskjöld and the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-3). 18. William S. Bruce and the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-4). 19. Jean-Baptiste Charcot and the French Antarctic Expedition (1903-5). 20. Ernest H. Shackleton an the British Antarctic Expedition (1907-9). 21. Jean-Baptiste Charcot and the Second French Antarctic Expedition (1908-10). 22. Roald Amundsen and the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition (1910-12). 23. Scott's Last Expedition--The British Antarctic ('Terra Nova') Expedition (1910-13). 24. Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition (1910-12). 25. Wilhelm Filchner and the Second German Antarctic Expedition (1911-12). 26. Douglas Mawson and the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-14). 27. Ernest H. Shackleton and the Imperial Transantarctic Expedition (1914-17). 28. John L. Cope and the British Imperial Expedition (1920-22). 29. Shackleton's Last Voyage--The Shackleton-Rowett Expedition (1921-22).]

Section I: Primary and Selected Publications [481 pages covering 365 titles. Entries range from perhaps a quarter of a page to numerous pages (the Wilkes' entry--No. 350 runs to 23 pages). Bibliophiles and collectors will find the details on publication, binding, collations and all the 'points' and variants extraordinarily useful. For those just interested in the Antarctic, the commentary on each title alone is worth the price.]

Section II: Other Titles Briefly Mentioned [28 pages covering 355 titles. Entries include (although not in all instances): author, title, publisher and place of publication, date of publication, bibliographic references and short descriptions or commentary.]

Indexes [27 pages. Three indexes are included: Author/Editor Index; Title Index; Subject Index.]

So the big question now is who will be the first bookseller, auctioneer or author to include a citation or description: "Rosove 117.F1" (or the ultimate: "Not in Rosove")? I would guess it will be a matter of days.

--R. Stephenson
(3 February 2002)

UPDATE: As far as citing Rosove, it didn't take long. The head of Special Collections cataloguing at UCLA e-mailed on the 6th of February to say "...we just happened to have started cataloging the Mary Jo Goodwin Antarctica Collection a few weeks ago,... I decided to put the first citation on our record for Aurora Australis (what else?)."
--R. Stephenson
(10 March 2002)

UPDATE: UCLA may have been the first of the libraries to cite Michael's bibliography, but the first bookseller to do so--or the first catalogue that I've received that cites it--arrived today: Catalogue 60 from Helen Kahn in Montreal. She's one of the great booksellers and still turns out catalogues the old fashioned way--with lots of detail and no gimmicks. Among those items cited: Marra's Journal (Rosove 214.A1a); Scott's Last Expedition (Rosove 290.B1b); Scott's Voyage of the Discovery (Rosove 286.A3); Shackleton's Heart of the Antarctic (Rosove 305.C1a); and Weddell's Voyage (Rosove 345.A1).
--R. Stephenson
(3 April 2002)

UPDATE: Michael e-mails to say that the "Additions and Corrections Supplement" to his bibliography "is now in preparation, and I hope to have it published formally in the early part of 2004 under the Adélie Books imprint. All contributors ... are being acknowledged. Feel free to make an announcement at the antarctic-circle website if you wish to do so. If you do, please also state that this is a last call for contributions, and that I may be contacted at
(23 September 2003)

UPDATE: Michael reports that the "Additions and Corrections Supplement" to his bibliography is on hold for the moment. He's still receiving a steady stream of contributions and has decided to wait until this slows down.

THE SOUTH POLAR TIMES 3 volumes. Facsimile of the first published editions (1907-1914). (London: Orskey - Bonham - Niner, 2002) £600.

Rumors have been circulating about this production for some time now. The South Polar Times was produced during the two Scott expeditions. The originals--in the possession of the British Library and the Royal Geographical Society [the never published volume IV is at the Scott Polar Research Institute] were issued as limited editions by Smith, Elder and are highly collected. This facsimile production is limited to 350 copies and reproduces the style of the first editions. The three-volume set is due to be available in December, 2001.
--Offered in the most recent catalogue (No 29) of Explorer Books [e-mail:].
(16 November 2001)

Advance copies have been seen in London and sale copies are to be available by Christmas. Apparently Vol 2 needed to be re-done because of color difficulties. Good news: Unlike the original gutta-percha binding, this edition will be stitched and as a consequence no falling-out-pages.
--R. Stephenson
(13 December 2001)

UPDATE: My three volumes arrived the day before Michael Rosove's bibliography (see above), meaning a particularly exciting weekend. Perhaps the 'New England Patriots' will win the Super Bowl tonight to cap things off! [AND THEY DID!!]

Here are some details:

This three-volume set is a faithful facsimile of the those volumes published by Smith, Elder in 1907 (vols I and II) and 1914 (vol III). The added title page in vol I reads: THE | SOUTH POLAR TIMES | 1902 - 1911 | CENTENARY EDITION | THREE VOLUMES | LONDON | ORSKEY - BONHAM - NINER | 2002 On the verso: THIS CENTENARY EDITION IS | STRICTLY LIMITED TO 350 COPIES | The publishers gratefully acknowledge | the help given by | Robert Headland | of the Scott Polar Institute [sic] | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This title page (which only appears in vol I) is the sole text indication that the set is a reprint. There is no introduction or other added material which would have been useful and welcomed, perhaps in the form of an accompanying booklet. A single index to all three volumes would have been useful, too (a good project for someone with time on their hands). A Prospectus was issued but other than the title page (the same as above) it is the same prospectus as originally issued in 1905 and does not otherwise relate to these reprints. It would have been nice if the simple dustwrappers had been replicated, also the slipcases, both included with the originals (boxes only with the first two volumes).
The binding is, thankfully, not of the page-shedding variety of the original issues which means that I can now read them which I never felt comfortable attempting with my originals. The design replicates the original, complete with the Smith, Elder & Co on the spine, although the beveled boards were not attempted. Ribbon bookmarks--not present originally--have been added, but the gilt edges were apparently decided against.

The quality of the production is quite high. A side-by-side comparison with the originals leads me to the conclusion that the colors are as good as can be expected. Although not inexpensive at £600, it's many times less expensive than a set of the originals and it's certainly easier to use.

--R. Stephenson
(3 February 2002)

ANTARCTICA: FIRST IMPRESSIONS 1773-1930 edited by Douglas R.G. Sellick. (Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2001) [256] pp. Paper. Black and white photographic illustrations, drawings, maps. ISBN 1 86368 343 7. Available in the US at $26.95 from International Specialized Book Services in Portland, Oregon ( Tel: 1-800-944-6190.

"The aim of this anthology is to offer the reader a diverse collection of gripping autobiographical first impressions of travellers of all kinds to Antarctica..."
--From the Editor's Note.

Excerpts from the accounts of explorers. A nicely designed book. The elusive Shackleton quote is featured on the front free endpaper (see $100 CONTEST! elsewhere on this site).


Editor's Note
Introduction by Professor Peter Spearritt
James Cook
James Weddell
James Eights (an unexpected but welcomed inclusion)
Charles Wilkes
Sir James Clark Ross
William J.J. Spry (another unexpected but welcomed inclusion)
Henrik Johan Bull
Frederick Albert Cook
Robert Falcon Scott
Ernest Henry Shackleton
Roald Engebreth Gravning Amundsen
Edward R.G.R. Evans
Herbert G. Ponting
Frank Debenham
Douglas Mawson
Ernest Edward Mills Joyce
Sir Hubert Wilkins
A South Polar Chronology (a useful 7 page chronology)
Douglas Sellick (About the author "...a freelance history and literary researcher and anthologist.")

--R Stephenson
(9 May 2002)

HIPPOLYTE'S ISLAND by Barbara Hodgson. (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001) 282 pp. $24.95. ISBN 0-8118-2892-1.

A large amount of Antarctic fiction has been written over the years [see Fauno Cordes' bibliography elsewhere on this site] and generally I don't take much notice of it. But Hippolyte's Island is fun and appealing in a quirky way. It's beautifully produced and the illustrations by the author are terrific and really become part of the story. If you're interested in the South Shetlands, South Georgia, sealing or early cartography, you should enjoy this book.
--R. Stephenson
(10 March 2002)

"Craving a new adventure, Hippolyte Webb, quixotic traveler, writer, and natural historian, sets his sights on the Auroras, a group of tiny islands in the middle of the South Atlantic. His destination wouldn't be so unusual, except that these islands were last spotted almost two hundred years ago. Equipped with outdated charts, an inadequate sailboat, and an advance for a book about his quest, he heads for the Auroras--and finds more than he ever imagined. But the challenges that he meets on his voyage are nothing compared to those that await him when he returns.
Marie Simplon, his no-nonsense book editor, is appalled by Hippolyte's strange tale and wants nothing to do with the Auroras-or with him. However, as he inundates her with centuries-old maps, sketches, and specimens from his journey, she is drawn against her better judgment into the mysterious details of his experiences in the South Atlantic. The two are soon joined in a race-Hippolyte to prove that his islands exist, Marie to refute his claims. Marie finds herself succumbing to a tide of conflicting emotions about the journey and the man, and she realizes she must embark on her own quest to discover for herself the limits of logic and the power of belief."
--From the dustwrapper.

ON ANTARCTICA by Len Airey, illustrated by John Elliott. Due for US publication in August, 2001. Visit for additional information.

On Antarctica is filled with anecdotes of humour, tragedy, fire, war, wildlife, tourism, mountaineering, celebration, base-life, yachting, travel, science, sex and even spies! The book is an extraordinary but true account of life on remote Antarctic bases where people live with few companions, no neighbours, no shops, no help, no hospitals and no way out. Read how Antarctica was affected by the Falkland Island war with new, original material never before released. Read about the Petermann tragedy and the desperation of isolation in Antarctica. Read what they do in Antarctica to survive those winter nights and celebrate those special occasions. Read about life 'On Antarctica,' mesmerising, a book outstandingly written with scores of illustrations and photographs. Alliance House Distributors will be the exclusive distributor to all leading bookstores in the US.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has provided the following Foreword:

'On Antarctica' is a very private book yet a very open revelation of a man who lived his dream for a while. Len Airey yearns to following in the wake of early Antarctic explorers. "I had been determined to stand where Ernest Shackleton had once stood in Antarctica," he writes. And when he stood on South Georgia, the final resting place for Shackleton, he makes the commentary, "I recalled what Shackleton had said when he received the news that Scott had died attempting to be the first man to reach the South Pole. "He did not mean to die in Europe. He wanted (some day) to die away on one of his expeditions and I shall go on going, old man, 'till one day I shall not come back.""
But 'On Antarctica' is not concerning history. The author endures the very best and the very worst imaginable during four long years. It is a frank, sometimes agonizing account of his interaction with the continent and comrades. "The landscape slowly took on its winter coat as sea and land became one. . . .", and "He loomed up at me like a Rottweiler. The others backed away. He put his face close to mine. . . ." Each of his three winters living on remote research stations is very different. Fear, excitement, debauchery, camaraderie, the joy of isolation, and above all the wonder of the place are all well covered in this fascinating story, which is well served by the excellent illustrations of artist John Elliot.

Len Airey (Author) -- He was born in Cornwall, England, and lived and worked in Antarctica for four years. Len Airey was awarded the Polar Medal in 1986 for outstanding services in Antarctica. He has provided more than forty colour photographs for the book.
John Elliot (Illustrator) -- He is an accomplished Nyack, Rockland County artist and has provided more than forty illustrations, including the cover artwork.

I've not seen the book although Billy-Ace Baker reviews it in the Fall-Winter 2001 issue of The Polar Times.
--R. Stephenson
3 February 2002

ANTARCTICA: "...TO A LONELY LAND I KNOW" by Ken Pawson. (Inwood, Manitoba: Whippoorwill Press, 2001) 313 pp. CAN$28 or US$20, plus shipping. ISBN 0-9681675-1-9. Distributed by Aquila Books, Box 75035 Cambrian Postal Outlet, Calgary, Alberta T2K 6J8, Canada. Tel: 403-282-5832. Fax: 403-289-0814. E-mail: Web:

From the author of Dogs and Men (Kevin Walton)
Foreword (Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith, FRSC)
1. First Longings
2. My Dreams Come True
3. Down the Latitudes to the Falklands
4. Last Days in Civilization
5. First Ice
6. Around the Bases to Port Lockroy
7. Settling In--Before the Last Ship
8. The Coming of Winter
9. The Sun Again!
10. Summer: Manhauling on Wiencke Island
11. The John Biscoe Returns
12. Waiting at Base F
13. Northward to Admiralty Bay
14. Early Winter on Camp Glacier
15. Winter Sled Journey
16. Our Last Sled Journey
17. Last Days at Base G
18. Farewell to Antarctica
Appendix A [short biographies of those at the bases]
Appendix B: Brave Little Heart [two of the author's poems]
Final Words: To Yap [the author's old lead dog]
Maps [two small, not easily read maps]

Antarctica: " a lonely land I know. " recounts a young man's experience during the Golden Age of Antarctic exploration immediately following the end of WWII, before "the mass of scientists and tourists arrived." In characteristic understatements, Ken Pawson details life in the remote bases, where he and his colleagues conducted surveys, explorations and gathered scientific data. They were helped by the dedicated teams of Inuit Sled Dogs, originally brought from Labrador and Greenland. The dogs provided both transport and companionship in those lonely and harsh surroundings.
Ken Pawson gives a compelling narrative often laced with humor. This is not the stuff of dramatic heroism or of banner headlines. It is the story of ordinary life in extraordinary surroundings, of men and dogs doing the jobs they were assigned to do.
Ken Pawson is also a poet. In 2000, he won the prestigious Dog Writers of America award in the poetry category.
--From the back cover.

The author spent December 1947 to July 1950 with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS), working as a meteorologist and surveyor from bases on islands off the Antarctic Peninsula.

An interesting personal account of the author's time with FIDS, an era that hasn't received a great deal of attention in the literature. The photographs, although not reproduced terribly well, are very welcomed. One I particularly noticed is on page 150: the grave and cairn of Eric Platt. In May of 2001 I visited St Mary's Church in the tiny village of Cotton Stones, West Yorkshire, in search of a memorial window to Platt. It was placed there by his parents. Ken Pawson was born nearby in Triangle and attended the same grammar school as Platt. Platt died at Admiralty Bay in 1948.
--R. Stephenson (6 January 2002)

SOUTH WITH ENDURANCE. SHACKLETON'S ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1914-1917. THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF FRANK HURLEY Frank Hurley. Edited by Tamiko Rex. Contributors and consultants: Paul Costigan, Michael Gray, Shane Murphy, Gael Newton and Joanna Wright. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001) 320 pp. $50. ISBN 0-7432-2292-X.

Foreword (Joanna Wright)
The Endurance Expedition (Shane Murphy)
The Perfect Picture: James Francis Hurley (Gael Newton)
Portfolio: Selected Photographs
Pioneer of Polar Photograph (Michael Gray and Gael Newton)
Frank Hurley's Cameras, Equipment, and Materials (Michael Gray)
Gallery: The Complete Photographs
Frank Hurley: A Chronology
Acknowledgments and Bibliography
Photography Credits

"...the first book to reproduce a total of nearly 500 extant photographs, including many remarkable color images that have never been published before. It is the first to reproduce the photos to a standard size that display Hurley's work as the art that it is. Drawn from the archives of the Royal Geographical Society in London, the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, and the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, the photographs are complemented by excerpts from Hurley's diary, a chapter about the expedition itself, a biographical essay, and commentary about Hurley's photographic technique."
--From the dustjacket.

Very large, very heavy, very comprehensive. There's an awful lot of good material here and not just Antarctic-related. Section Five (Gallery: The Complete Photographs) is just that, a gallery of ALL of Hurley's Antarctic photographs. (This is useful but would have been more so if the photos had been numbered so that this 'Gallery' could be used in the future as a photo-bibliographic reference of Hurley's work.)
--R. Stephenson
(15 December 2001)

SOME IDEAS ABOUT THE FAR SOUTH BEFORE THE WESTERN EUROPEAN AGE OF DISCOVERY by David L. Lipton. (Haverford, PA: Infinity, 2001) 132 pp. Wrappers. $11.95. ISBN 0-7414-0643-8.

A very personal and at times curious examination of early thoughts and theories on the far south drawn from many cultures. In each case the discussion is not lengthy, in part because the author's motive is to encourage readers to pursue further the sources cited.
--R. Stephenson
(13 December 2001)

From the back cover: "Traditionally, Antarctic history focuses on exploration and ideas during the five most recent centuries. However, before this time, one discovers many ideas about what lay to the south, as well as some voyages beyond the southernmost regions known to the sailors' culture. And these activities were not limited to Greco-Roman Civilization and its Western European heirs. Important ancient and medieval developments also occurred in the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Geographical theories often varied even within a given culture. Also, the author reviews some recent positions on activities during these early eras."

David L. Lipton is an independent scholar whose areas of interest are Antarctic history, world history, and the philosophy of history.

DISCOVERY ILLUSTRATED: PICTURES FROM CAPTAIN SCOTT'S FIRST ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION by J.V. Skelton and D.M. Wilson. (Cheltenham, UK: Reardon Publishing [], 2001) 168 pp. ISBN 1-873877-48-X.
David Wilson and Judy Skelton have worked hard on this publication commemorating the centenary of the Discovery expedition. It's due out in November 2001. Edited from the journals of Dr Edward A. Wilson and Chief Engineer Reginald W. Skelton and including 500 images (paintings and photographs) by the editors' famous forebears, it will be available in two formats: hardback at £39.95, and a special boxed limited edition (100 signed copies) at £70. The overall edition is limited to 2000 copies. All royalties will be donated to support the work of the Scott Polar Research Institute. For ordering information contact J.V. Skelton, 32 Davis Road, London W3 7SQ, UK. In the US it can be obtained as well from Chris Rider, Rare & Out-of-Print Books, P. O. Box 417, Glenmoore, PA 19343-0417. E-mail: Tel: 610-458-9881. Limited edition: $175. Trade edition: $75.

UPDATE: According to David Wilson, now out and available.
(16 November 2001)

UPDATE: I recently received my copy, the limited edition of a hundred numbered and signed copies. A very handsome production in black leatherette with silver gilt spine and cover decoration (logo of the expedition). 'Profusely illustrated' is not an exaggerated description, and many of the illustrations (photographs, Wilson sketches and watercolors, adverts and other ephemera) appear here for the first time. Also quite a bit of material from the 'South Polar Times'. There's no table of contents but here is the sequence"

1: Introduction. July 1895 - July 1900
2: Expedition Preparations August 1900 - 6 August 1901
3: The Voyage Out. 7 August 1901 - 24 December 1901
4: Something New Every Day. 25 December 1901 - 8 February 1902
5: Hut Point and Autumn Sledging. 9 February 1902 - 22 April 1902
6: The First Winter. 23 April 1902 - 23 August 1902
7: Spring Sledging. 24 August 1902 - 24 October 1902
8: Summer Sledging and the coming of Morning. 25 October 1902 - 2 March 1903
9: The Second Winter. 3 March 1903 - 6 September 1903
10: The Second Sledging Season. 7 September - 25 December 1903
11: The Return to Civilisation. 26 December - 1 April 1904
12: The Journey Home and Thereafter. 2 April 1904 - 1907
13: Epilogue. One Hundred Years on 1901-2001
Discovery Ship's Company when She Sailed from New Zealand for the Antarctic on 24 December 1901
Select Bibliography and Further Recommended Reading
List of Illustrations and Copyright Acknowledgements

A very useful and well-done job in celebration of the centenary of the ship and the expedition and who better to do it than descendants of two of the indispensable members of the expedition. Many thanks David and Judy!
--R. Stephenson
(13 December 2001)

CHERRY: A LIFE OF APSLEY CHERRY-GARRARD by Sara Wheeler. (London: Jonathan Cape, 2001) [354] pp. Illustrations. Maps. £17.99. ISBN 0-224-05004-4. US edition to be issued by Random House in April 2002.

Sara Wheeler, author of the bestselling Terra Incognita, is writing a biography of Apsley Cherry-Garrard. The book, which the anxious author hopes to have finished by the end of 2000 for publication in 2001, has the cooperation of Cherry's widow. It will be published in the US by Random House and in the UK by Jonathan Cape. It is the first biography of the author of The Worst Journey in the World, and draws on much material never seen before.
Meanwhile Terra Incognita is being published in Russian, German, Chinese, Estonian and Greek.
(10 August 1999)

UPDATE: I learned from Sara in November 2000 that the first draft of her Cherry-Garrard book is complete and publication is set for Autumn 2001.
UPDATE: Sara told me the other day that the publication date in the UK is 8 November 2001 (Jonathan Cape); in the US, April 2002 (Random House). The UK price will be £20.
-- R. Stephenson
(27 September 2001)
From a recent issue of Stanfords Shop News: "'The Worst Journey in the World' by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of the youngest members of Scott's final expedition to the Antarctic, has traversed time as a classic masterpiece of Arctic [sic] reportage. This biography examines why, whilst examining Cherry-Garrard's own life, which proved more complicated than literature, as he faced a terrible struggle against depression breakdown and despair."
NOTE: Sara will speak on her book on 14 November 2001 in Stanfords Travel Lectures series in London. See 'Antarctic Events' elsewhere on this site for more information.
UPDATE: 'Cherry' is now out and according to Sara it's been '...reprinted twice within a week of publication.'
--R. Stephenson
(16 November 2001)

UPDATE: I now have my copy of the UK edition (not due in the US until April). It's apparently doing VERY well. I haven't gotten very far into it yet.

List of Illustrations
1. Ancestral Voices
2. Lamer
3. Untrodden Fields
4. Winning All Hearts
5. Out of the World
6. Even with God
7. It is the Tent
8. Kipling in Real Life
9. The War had Won
10. The Most Wonderful Story in the World
11. The Chaos which Threatens
12. Danced with AC-G
13. A Darker Continent
14. A Winter Journey Indeed
Guide to Notes
Select Bibliography
Guide to Selected Antarcticans
--R. Stephenson
(13 December 2001)

UPDATE: The US edition has been out for awhile and is doing very well. There was a terrific review by Michael Kenney in the 17 April issue of the Boston Globe. And the book was featured (including the cover) in a review by Caroline Alexander in the Sunday New York Times book section on the 5th of May, also very positive.
--R. Stephenson
(9 May 2002)

CAPTAIN COOK'S WORLD; MAPS OF THE LIFE AND VOYAGES OF JAMES COOK R.N. by John Robson. Published simultaneously by Random House New Zealand (Auckland), Random House Australia and University of Washington Press (Seattle), 2000. 211 pp. US$40. ISBN 0295980192 (University of Washington Press) ISBN 1869414098 (Random House New Zealand) ISBN 1740514130 (Random House Australia). More recently issued in the UK by Chatham Publications at £25. ISBN 1861761813.

List of Maps
Early Life -- Maps 0.01 - 0.24
The First Voyage -- Maps 1.01 - 1.40
The Second Voyage -- Maps 2.01 - 2.32
The Third Voyage -- Maps 3.01 - 3.31; Map 4.01
This is a handsomely produced book in an oblong format. The maps, which are in color, are all drawn in a similar style and include the "...the locations visited, named or surveyed by Cook, the routes of his voyages, and sites that have been marked in his honour." Of interest to Antarcticans is the Second Voyage which is described in 16 pages of text followed by 32 maps. Sites associated with Cook's early life in Cleveland (Middlesbrough, Great Ayton, Staithes, Whitby) and in various sections of greater London are described and shown on several maps as well.
--R. Stephenson
(15 October 2001)

SHACKLETON AT SOUTH GEORGIA by Robert Burton and Stephen Venables. Foreword by the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton. (Hemingford Abbots, UK: Robert Burton, 2001) 24 pp. £3 plus 35p for postage and handling; from the US, $5 plus $1 for postage and handling. ISBN 0-9541389-0-2.

Shackleton visited South Georgia on Endurance, James Caird and Quest. This 24-page booklet describes the three visits and his funeral, as well as the retracing of his Crossing of South Georgia by three renowned mountaineers. Illustrated with little-known historic photographs and modern re-enactments.
All proceeds will be donated to the restoration of the Manager's House, the 'Villa', at Stromness whaling station where Shackleton and his two companions finished their epic journey.
Available from Robert Burton, 63 Common Lane, Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdon PE28 9AW, UK. Tel: 01480 352340. E-mail:

The Stromness Villa The Villa at Stromness whaling station was the home of the managers and also the administrative centre. Compared with the rest of the station, the Villa was extremely comfortable. It boasted a bathroom, soft chairs, flowers in pots and other luxuries. Thoralf Sorile, who welcomed Shackleton into the Villa , was sometimes accompanied by his wife and four daughters.
Stromness closed as a whaling station in 1931 but was converted into a ship repair yard until final closure in 1961. Since then, the Stromness Villa has suffered from the weather and vandals. Destruction of the windows and doors has allowed snow, rain and seals indoors and some of the wooden fabric is rotten. The gaping holes have now been boarded up so that deterioration has been greatly reduced and the Villa is safe from imminent collapse.
As Journey's End for Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, the Stromness Villa is one of South Georgia's historic sites: 'Mr Sorille's hospitality had no bounds. He would scarcely let us wait to remove our freezing boots before he took us into his house and gave us seats in a warm and comfortable room.' [Shackleton in South.]

An increasing number of visitors to South Georgia walk Shackleton's route from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. A hardy few attempt the complete crossing from King Haakon Bay. At the moment they are denied their ultimate destination: the Stromness Villa. Access to the whaling station has been forbidden for reasons of safety. Funds are now being raised for saving the Villa and clearing the area so that all visitors can visit without danger. It is hoped that everyone who has fallen under the spell of South Georgia and the story of the Endurance will contribute to the restoration. Perhaps by buying this little book. The generosity and support of so many individuals and organisations mean that the entire price of each copy goes to helping save the Villa.

--Bob Burton
(14 October 2001)

A recent e-mail from Bob reports that a message from the Commissioner of South Georgia was read out at the London premiere of the Shackleton IMAX movie that stated that they are "determined to restore and preserve the Manager's Villa", that a Fund is being set up and some soldiers will be sent there to clean up debris and make a structural survey.
Bob goes on to say that "We are also just completing a flyer and membership form for the new 'South Georgia Association'. At the moment we are concentrating on circulating the information to potential UK members to advertise our Inaugural Meeting on 14 December, then we will circulate to US and elsewhere."
--Bob Burton
(22 October 2001)

UPDATE: I received a copy a few days back and it's an excellent booklet with a lot of information and photos (many previously unpublished or seldom seen) crammed in the 24 pages. Bob--who knows as much about South Georgia as anyone--deserves praise for his efforts, so too Stephen Venables.
--R. Stephenson
(13 December 2001)

Foreword: Alexandra Shackleton
Gateway to the Antarctic
Exit from the Antarctic
The Last Expedition
Following Shackleton Across the Island


A comprehensive and scholarly account of the subject, with 269 black and white photographs, maps, drawings and graphs.
--R. Stephenson
(12 October 2001)

"Pesca is a fascinating account of the commercial activities of the pioneer company which exploited the vast natural resources of the great Southern and Antarctic Oceans.
It is the story of a company, whose beginnings are unique in the annals of polar history: founded as the result of an Antarctic expedition mishap by a Norwegian whaling captain, funded by Argentine capital and established on the remote and uninhabited windswept island of South Georgia laid claim to by Britain. The narrative of Pesca embraces both political intrigue and commercial enterprise in the harshest of maritime environments.
Ian Hart writes about the events which led to the formation of this cosmopolitan company, its impact on the great Antarctic whaling industry and the bearing it had on British and Argentine political activity right up to the Falklands war.
Illustrated by photographs, many not previously published, Pesca is the story of men who had the courage to invest in an amazing polar enterprise and the bravery, skill and fortitude of the crews who made it pay.
In many ways, the activities exemplified man's insatiable greed: the initial success, high hopes and vast profits founded on the slaughter of whales, which continued in the decline of Pesca in the 1960s and final collapse."
--From the dustwrapper.

Foreword: The Hon Alexandra Shackleton
The Background to the Company's Formation
The Formation of the Company
The Antarctic Island of South Georgia
The Colonial Background
Early Developments
Progression 1906-1909
Profitability and Later Decline 1909-1913
Practice and Production
Social Life and Labour Relations
The First World War
Post War Trading
Pelagic Interlude
Developments in the 1930s and The Second World War
A New Direction
Investment and Improvement 1955-1958
A New Fleet
The Last of the 1950s
A New Company and the Final Years
Sealers and Sealing
Appendices - Tables of Statistical Information

ANTARCTICA: THE COMPLETE STORY by David McGonigal and Lynn Woodworth. (Willoughby NSW: Global Book Publishing Pty Ltd., 2001) 608 pp. With accompanying CD-ROM. Publication date, price, etc: Unknown.
Note: Gordon Bain reports from Australia on 3 October that he just saw a copy at the Australian Antarctic Division, so the book is out or will be shortly. He says the publisher is The Five Mile Press, Noble Park, Victoria. ISBN 1 86503 541 6. Price: estimated AUD$100.

"Antarctica has not always been a place of ice and snow. Once part of the supercontinent of Gondwanaland, it is believed to have enjoyed a warmer climate in which plants and land animals thrived. However, nowadays less than one percent of the surface is ice free, and at bedrock level the ice can be up to a million or more years old. In comparison, the Arctic consists entirely of pack-ice which breaks into ice floes in summer and floats on the Arctic Ocean.
While the ice gives rise to spectacular scenery, both on land and sea, these regions also have an astonishing variety of wildlife. The two Poles have few common species (apart from some birds and whales) but many endemic ones-polar bears, walruses and puffins in the north, penguins and elephant seals in the south.
Both regions have long been associated with tales of great heroism in their exploration, and here too there are common links. Roald Amundsen was first to the South Pole and died in a rescue in the north (at that time his ship, the Fram, had been furthest south and furthest north). Frederick Cook, who lodged a false claim to being first to the North Pole, was the first to winter over in Antarctica, as part of a Belgian expedition. Nowadays, tourists can visit in cruise ships and see the almost impossible task the explorers set themselves
Both areas are of concern ecologically. For several years there has been a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica; one is now opening over the Arctic Circle. Ecologists watch both Antarctica and the Arctic for any signs of change that may have implications for the planet as a whole. They join scientists from all over the world conducting research in these unique conditions
With interesting and authoritative text written by a team of international experts, accompanied by over a thousand superb photographs, this book will fascinate all with an interest in the Poles and their wildlife.

The content will cover the following topics, among others:

Geography and geology.
Climate and weather.
Ice, icebergs, glaciers and land formations.
History and exploration.
Wildlife and flora--how unique life has evolved in a very harsh environment.
Polar science--the scientists who live and work in Antarctica, the research bases.
Icebreaker shipping and tourism.
Politics and treaties and the interested parties, including the 1988 Minerals Convention.
The people of the Arctic.
Conservation and the future (specific Polar issues, such as melting of the ice caps and ozone depletion)."
--From an early publisher's blurb.

UPDATE: A complimentary copy arrived yesterday and I took it back to the post office today to weigh it: It comes in at 8 lbs which must make it the heaviest polar book yet. [Complimentary because I contributed a couple of minor sections near the back.] It's also the most elaborate: enclosed in a printed cradle of sorts which, in turn, goes into an illustrated slipcase (12 x 13.5 inches). It also includes a CD ROM disk. My immediate reaction was that it's a logical extension of 1985 Readers Digest effort ('Antarctica: Great Stories from the Frozen Continent'), also an Australian production and long considered the single best resource on Antarctica. Here are some further statistics: 608 pages. More than 1,000 photographs and illustrations. More than 80 thematic maps (very handsome, too). The authors: David McGonigal and Dr Lynn Woodworth. The publisher: The Five Mile Press, 22 Summit road, Noble Park, VIC 3174 Australia. Tel: 61 3 9790 5000. No indication as to price although Gordon Bain (see above) suggests around $100 Australian.
There's a curious aspect to the book: The Title is Antarctica: The Complete Story but the book actually covers both the Arctic and the Antarctic (although the latter receives far more attention). Why not 'The Arctic and The Antarctic: The Complete Story?

Foreword (by Sir Edmund Hillary)
The Geology of the Poles
The Polar Environment
The Antarctic Peninsula
The Ross Sea and East Antarctica
The Sub-Antarctic Islands
The Arctic
Antarctic Ecology
Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises
Arctic Wildlife
Early Explorers 1487-1900
The Heroic Age 1901-1917
Modern Explorers 1921-1959
Managing the Poles
Conquering the Poles
Living and Working in the Cold
Part VI: Resources
--R. Stephenson
(10 October 2001)

THE "TAURUS" COLLECTION; 150 COLLECTIBLE BOOKS ON THE ANTARCTIC. A BIBLIOGRAPHY edited by Julian Mackenzie, collated by Lisa Milton, notes by Richard Kossow. (London: The Travellers' Bookshop, 2001) 197 pp., cloth. Numerous color photographic illustrations mainly of book covers and dust wrappers. Limited to 500 copies. £150. ISBN 1 874472 52. Details from The Travellers' Bookshop, 32 St George Street, London W1S 2EA, UK. Tel: 020 7493 0876. E-mail:

Contents: Preface; Acknowledgements; Books and Scientific Reports arranged chronologically by expedition; General; Biography; Index of Expeditions; Index of Authors; Index of Book Titles.

"The Taurus Collection is one of the pre-eminent collections of books on the Antarctic in private hands. Painstakingly assembled over many years within very tight criteria, the collection encompasses the major works of exploration by people who actually went to the continent in the Golden Age, which ended with the outbreak of the Second World War. Great attention has been paid to condition and the books present in the collection are generally exceptionally fine copies, including many with rarely seen dust wrappers. Also present are important biographies, generally by people who personally knew their subject, and scientific reports from nationally sponsored expeditions. The items are supplied with collations, notes and illustrations, making this a work of great value not only to collectors and dealers but also to those interested in the history of Antarctic Exploration."
--From the publisher's flyer for the book.

Large format book with high quality photographic illustrations. The price is a major hurdle for all but serious collectors. The collations are reasonably detailed, certainly more so than in the case of Spence or Conrad. One appears here picked at random:

British Antarctic Expedition under Robert Scott (1910-1913))

90. TAYLOR, Griffith

British ("Terra Nova") Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913. The Physiography of the McMurdo Sound and Granite Harbour Region. By Griffith Taylor, D.Sc., B.E. (Syd.), B.A. (Camb.), F.R.G.S. McCaughey Associate-Professor of Geography, University of Sydney, Senior Geologist and Leader of the Western Parties.

4to (310 x 240 mm); pp. [2], [i-iv], v-xvi, 241, 242-246 numbered alternate pages only, 7 maps (4 folding in end-pocket, 3 full-page including frontispiece), 141 photographic illustrations on 53 plates, 10 stereoscopic plates, 2 panoramic views on 1 folding plate, 171 sketch figures, maps and diagrams in the text (4 full-page), errata slip, original pebbled maroon cloth, covers with blindstamped borders, spine lettered in gilt; presentation copy with inscription "Lancelot Fleming / with best of wishes: / 1934" on front free endpaper, Fleming's bookplate on front pastedown. (Lancelot Fleming was a member of the British Graham Land Expedition).

Harrison and Sons, Ltd., London 1922.

First edition. This is the more formal scientific account of Taylor's western journeys - the third outing for his descriptive powers (the first appeared in Scott's Last Expedition, Volume II). Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly the most lavishly illustrated and charted version, as well as the most difficult of his titles to obtain.

Spence 1184.

--R. Stephenson
(7 October 2001)

THE COLDEST MARCH by Susan Solomon (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) 416 pp. 72 illustrations. $29.95. ISBN 08967-8. For additional information e-mail:

"In November of 1911, Captain Robert Falcon Scott led a British team across the snows of Antarctica, striving to be the first to attain the South Pole. After marching and skiing over 900 miles, Scott and four companions reached the Pole in January of 1912, only to find that a group of five Norwegians had been there almost a month earlier. Scott and his polar party all perished on their return journey, and the foundation of one of Antarctica's most tragic legends was laid.

Now, ninety years after Scott and his companions began their fatal journey, The Coldest March brings a scientific perspective to understanding the men of the expedition, their struggle, and the reasons for their deaths. Extensive meteorological data reveal the startling conclusion that Scott's polar party was struck down by extremely unusual weather. As the book describes the myriad challenges faced by Scott and his men, new insights into their struggle are uncovered based upon contemporary knowledge not only of meteorology but also of sea ice dynamics, nutrition, snow physics, materials science, and more. The book also extends past science to the human side of this poignant story, illustrating how each man was unique in his contributions, outlook, and ultimate fate. No other book on the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1913 has brought science into the analysis of this key page of Antarctic history, and no other book has so fully depicted the lives and characters of the remarkable men who died after enduring "the coldest march."

About the author: Susan Solomon is a recognized world expert in atmospheric science. She led major scientific expeditions to the Antarctic in 1986 and 1987. She is the recipient of many honors for her insights in explaining the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole, including the highest award of the American Meteorological Society, the Carl-Gustaf Rossby Medal, and the United States' highest scientific distinction, the National Medal of Science." Among her many other distinctions is an Antarctic glacier named in her honor.
--From the publisher's blurb.

This book is based in part on a technical paper co-authored by Susan Solomon and Charles R. Stearns entitled "On the Role of the Weather in the Deaths of R. F. Scott and His Companions" that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (November 9, 1999; vol 96, no 23, pp 13012-16). She spoke on the subject at the recent (October 5-6, 2000) American Polar Society meeting at Boulder, Colorado. I enjoyed her talk and am looking forward to seeing the book, which Susan tells me contains more surprises.The author is also a Senior Scientist at the Aeronomy Laboratory, NOAA, in Boulder.
--R. Stephenson
(16 November 2000)

The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition

"Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale."-R. Scott, written after traveling for weeks of daily temperatures below - 35 °F.

This riveting book tells the tragic story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his British team who in November 1911 began a trek across the snows of Antarctica, striving to be the first to reach the South Pole. After marching and skiing more than nine hundred miles, the men reached the Pole in January 1912, only to suffer the terrible realization that a group of five Norwegians had been there almost a month earlier. On their return journey, Scott and his four companions perished, and their legacies--as courageous heroes or tragic incompetents--have been debated ever since.

Susan Solomon brings a scientific perspective to understanding the men of the expedition, their staggering struggle, and the reasons for their deaths. Drawing on extensive meteorological data and on her own personal knowledge of the Antarctic, she depicts in detail the sights, sounds, legends, and ferocious weather of this singular place. And she reaches the startling conclusion that Scott's polar party was struck down by exceptionally frigid weather--a rare misfortune that thwarted the men's meticulous predictions of what to expect. Solomon describes the many adventures and challenges faced by Scott and his men on their journey, and she also discusses each one's life, contributions, and death. Her poignant and beautifully written book restores them to the place of honor they deserve.

"A fresh and captivating look at one of the most tragic sagas in the annals of exploration. Solomon takes the reader on a breathtaking ride through Antarctica's beauty, history, and uniquely forbidding weather, weaving stunning scientific insights into the story of the lives and deaths of the men of Scott's last expedition in a forensic tour de force. Carefully researched, innovative, and elegantly written, The Coldest March will fascinate and inform anyone intrigued by polar adventure or the interplay of science and society."--Paul Ehrlich, author of Human Natures and Wild Solutions.

"An inspiring chronicle of Antarctic scientific exploration at its most heroic. From the vantage point of history and her personal experience in Antarctica and with all the human and scientific insights of the outstanding scientist that she is, Susan Solomon has written a masterpiece. It is a tale of vision, courage, endurance, patriotism, loyalty, and all the strengths and frailties of the human spirit. Above all, it is good science, good history, and gripping reading."--J.W. Zillman, president of the World Meteorological Organization
--From publisher's blurb
(15 March 2001)

Note: There is now a website devoted to Susan's book:

Note: "The Chronicle of Higher Education is sponsoring an online discussion this week on a new book, "The Coldest March," in which Susan Solomon argues that Robert Falcon Scott does not deserve his reputation as a bungler of his doomed expedition to the South Pole. The Chronicle invites members of this list to read an article about the new book, and to join a discussion about it at:"
--From a 4 September e-mail to the POLAR-L@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA

UPDATE: Susan's been in the UK talking about her book. I had the pleasure of being at SPRI when she spoke. See under 'Antarctic Events' elsewhere on this site for a photograph.
--R. Stephenson

List of Maps
List of Figures
Prologue: The Hut at the Bottom of the World
One: Into the Pack
Two: Of Dogs and Men
Three: The Return
Four: The Safety of Supplies
Five: The Start of a "Coreless" Winter
Six: For the Love of Science
Seven: In the Footsteps of Shackleton
Eight: Beyond the H of Hell
Nine: This Awful Place
Ten: Sunset on the Barrier
Eleven: The Anguish of Helplessness
Twelve: In Search of Explanations
Thirteen: A Chillingly Unusual March
Fourteen: The WInds of Chance and Choice
Epilogue: The Worst Weather in the World
Appendix One: The Men of the Mission
Appendix Two: A Timeline of Interconnected Lives
Selected Bibliography
Here's what I said on the 4th of September about the book on the Chronicle of Higher Education colloquy (see above) "I'm only at page 60 of Susan's book and have yet to reach the meat of her conclusions, but I will say that she writes very well and does an excellent job of integrating quotes from journals and published sources into her narrative. I've detected no obvious errors yet and, impressively, she spells "Lyttelton" correctly which I guess must be the most often misspelled word in books about the Antarctic."
I haven't finished it yet but I continue to feel she's done a first rate job as a writer and researcher.
--R. Stephenson
(10 October 2001)

Early in September 2001, the Sunday Telegraph Magazine (UK) had an extensive piece on the book. There's a tantalizing few sentences near the end: "Solomon says she knows what has happened to the bodies [Scott, Wilson and Bowers] because she has researched the movement of the ice floes, although she will not say if she has seen them. She had planned to report their fate in the book, but was horrified by the expedition in 1999 to recover the body of George Mallory from Mount Everest where it had lain for 75 years. Now her lips are sealed for ever. 'I will never say,' she says. 'These were incredible men, and I will not have them disturbed.'"
--Thanks to John Stansfield
(10 October 2001)

NOTE: I've heard several comments about the maps in 'The Coldest March'; that they're confusing and hard to interpret, particularly for those not familiar with the Antarctic. Looking at them again, I agree. They're a little too diagrammatic. It's difficult to tell what is land, what is ice, what is water. It's not always clear where's north and where's south. Inset maps aren't referenced. And at least one howler: Cape Evans is shown on page 15 incorrectly. Looks like Cape Adare to me.
--R. Stephenson
(16 December 2001)

WHAT THE ICE GETS; SHACKLETON'S ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1914-1916 [A POEM] by Melinda Mueller (Seattle: Van West & Company, 2000) 95 pp., wrappers. $14. ISBN 0-9677021-1-9.

Foreword by Gary Holthaus
I. Into the Ice. 5 December 1914 - 25 February 1915. Shackleton
II. Pressure. 16 March - 19 October 1915. Crean. Night Watch
III. What the Ice Gets. 23 - 29 October 1915. McNeish and Hurley
IV. Ocean Camp. 30 October - 27 December 1915
V. Waiting Waiting Waiting. 31 December 1915 - 8 April 1916. Orde-Lees
VI. Open Water. 9 - 15 April 1916. Worsley
VII The James Caird. 14 April - 29 August 1916
VIII. Elephant Island. 24 April - 29 August 1916. Wild
IX. Crossing to Stromness. 10-20 May 1916. Crean. County Kerry
South African Birds
About the Author
In the Preface the author relates her thoughts after viewing the Shackleton exhibit at New York's American Museum of Natural History: "I had the thought that it was odd no one had ever written the story as a poem. It is, after all, an epic tale of heroic and motley characters in a fabulous landscape. I thought, also, that writing such a poem would give me another opportunity to keep company with this story." In his Foreword, Gary Holthaus gives some insight into the poem and its structure, largely lost on me as a non-reader of poetry. But the poem itself is enjoyable as a narrative and can be approached as such. The book is handsomely designed and produced. [An earlier poem on the expedition is Douglas Stewart's 'Worsley Enchanted' (1952) which appeared in his 'Collected Poems 1936-1967' (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1967). Neither as long nor as all encompassing, it tends to make some poetry-reading Antarcticans wince. 'What the Ice Gets' is definitely an improvement in that sense.]
--R. Stephenson

NOTE: Melinda recently read some of her poem at Shackleton's old school, Dulwich College. See under 'Antarctic Events' elsewhere on this site for a photograph.

THE DISCOVERY OF THE SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS. THE VOYAGES OF THE BRIG WILLIAMS 1819-1820 AS RECORDED IN CONTEMPORARY DOCUMENTS AND THE JOURNAL OF MIDSHIPMAN C.W. POYNTER edited by R.J. Campbell (London: The Hakluyt Society, 2000. Series III, Volume 4) 232 pp., 31 illustrations including maps, charts, facsimiles, modern color photographs, drawings, etc., cloth. £45 "All Hakluyt Society volumes in print are available to non-members at their published prices and may be ordered through booksellers." ISBN 0 904180 62 X.

List of Illustrations
Chapter 1. Antarctic Background
Chapter 2. South American Background
Chapter 3. Nineteenth-century Navigation and Surveying
Chapter 4. Three Voyages of William Smith
Chapter 5. Voyage of Edward Bransfield
Chapter 6. Journal of Midshipman Charles Wittit Poynter
Chapter 7. Bransfield's Survey
Chapter 8. Other Expeditions in the 1819-1820 Season
Appendix 1. Accounts by Purdy, 1822; Weddell, 1825; Norie, 1825; Blunt, 1827
Appendix 2. Covering Letter from Captain Shirreff enclosing Logbook of the Brig Williams; Orders for Edward Bransfield; Charter Agreement
Appendix 3. Additional Naval Reports
Appendix 4. Selection of Additional Newspaper and Journal Reports in Chronological Order
"In 1819 William Smith, with a general cargo from Montevideo to Valparaiso, sailed further south round Cape Horn than his predecessors, in the hope of finding favourable winds. He sighted land in 62°S. His report to the Senior Naval Officer in Valparaiso was ridiculed, but on a subsequent voyage he confirmed his discovery, taking soundings and sailing along the coast. As a result Captain Shirreff, the Senior Naval Officer, chartered his vessel, the brig Williams, and having put Edward Bransfield, the master of his ship, HMS Andromache, in charge, sent her to survey the new discovery. Charles Poynter was one of the midshipmen who sailed with Bransfield. His account of this expedition, which forms the principal part of this volume, recently came to light in New Zealand, and is the only first-hand account of the voyage, during which the Antarctic mainland was sighted for the first time, that appears to have survived.

"The introduction contains some remarks on the South Shetland Islands, followed by chapters giving a brief look at the history of the Spanish in South America and the British presence in the area, together with the speculation leading to the search for Antarctica and chapters on early nineteenth-century navigation and hydrographic surveying.

"There were several second-hand accounts of William Smith's earlier voyages, and Bransfield's expedition which appeared in reports, journals and books at the time. These are included with brief accounts of other voyages to the South Shetland Islands which took place while Bransfield was in the area, to complete the picture.

"Poynter's journal explains the reasoning behind most of the names given to land features, some of which were not included in the published accounts at the time. There are also three charts and a number of views which are reproduced together with modern photographs of the area. It also contains a large number of geographical positions which enable a track chart of the voyage to be produced and an assessment of the accuracy of this short but remarkable voyage to be made. Finally the chart published as a result of Bransfield's survey is included."
--From the flyleaf.

I've been a member of the Society for years (it issues one or more books annually and has done so since 1846) and I must admit this is the first title I've ever read (actually I have yet to finish it). For anyone interested in the South Shetlands and the discovery of the Antarctic continent (the Smith, Bransfield, Palmer and Bellingshausen question in particular), this is a splendid resource and a great accomplishment for the author and editor, Captain R.J. Campbell. All the source material is here in one place and as such will prove invaluable for future researchers and writers. Campbell for many years was with the UK Hydrographic Office and it shows.
--R. Stephenson
(9 July 2001)

NOTES FROM A COLD CLIMATE Antarctic Symphony (SYMPHONY NO. 8) (London: Browns, 2001) 152 pp., cloth. Numerous photographs, mostly in color. £25. ISBN 0-9533730-3-7.

Contents: --Commissioning the symphony (Introduction by Linda Capper, British Antarctic Survey). --Notes from a Cold Climate (The diary of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies). --The inspiration (Photographs by Pete Bucktrout). --Britain in the Antarctic (The work of the British Antarctic Survey). --Philharmonia Orchestra. --Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (Essay by John Warnaby; Chronological list of published works; Curriculum vitae).

The symphony, commissioned by the British Antarctic Survey, premiered on the 6th of May 2001 at the Royal Festival Hall, London. It was meant to mark the 50th anniversary of Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antarctica, which started off as the score for the film 'Scott of the Antarctic.' Davies' diary is about the only text. The photos, most of which are good though 'artsy', are uncaptioned (it would be helpful to know something about what's shown). And there's almost nothing about the symphony itself. Shows you what happens when designers are allowed to roam free!

See Antarctic Music elsewhere on this site for further information.
--R. Stephenson
(9 July 2001)

The most recent issue of The Seventh Continent [Issue No 11], the newsletter of the Montreal Antarctic Society, has something to say about the symphony and the book, including an interview with Judy Arnold, the composer's manager.

THE VOYAGES OF THE DISCOVERY: THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF SCOTT'S SHIP by Ann Savours (London: Chatham Publishing, 2001) 160 pp. Numerous photographs (some in color) and other illustrations, many not commonly seen. Large format paperback (also available in cloth). £9.99. ISBN 1-86176-171-6.

Contents: Preface. Part I: The National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-04: South Polar Exploration. The Building of the Discovery. The First Outward Voyage. Winter Quarters, McMurdo Sound, 1902. Sledging South, 1902-03. The Relief Expedition of the Morning, 1902-03. Scott's Western Journey, 1903. The Second Relief Expedition and Release of Discovery, 1903-04. Homeward Bound, 1904. Part II: Voyages to Hudson Bay, 1905-11 (not included here). Part III: World War I and its Aftermath, 1915-20 (not included here). Part IV: The Oceanographic Expeditions, 1925-27: The Plight of the Great Whales. To South Georgia and the Falklands, 1925-26. Second Season in the Antarctic, 1926-27. Part V: The BANZARE: Origins of the BANZARE and the First Voyage, 1929-30. Second BANZARE Voyage, 1930-31. Part VI: Sea Scouts and After, 1932-2001: Berthed in London, 1932-86. Home to Dundee. Appendix: Restoration and Display. Index.

This is a complete reworking of the author's 1992 book of the same title. The illustrations originally included have been supplemented by new ones, many in color. It's quite a handsomely designed and produced book, appearing appropriately in time for Discovery's centenary.
--R. Stephenson
(9 July 2001)

LADY SPY, GENTLEMAN EXPLORER: THE LIFE OF HERBERT DYCE MURPHY by Heather Rossiter (Milsons Point, NSW: Random House Australia, 2001) 401 pp. 13 black and white photo illustrations. A$21.95 paperback. ISBN 1-74051-024-0. Unclear whether a hardback edition is available.

A controversial new history of the 1911 Mawson Antarctic expedition. . . A story of the real-life inspiration for Patrick White's The Twyborn Affair. . . An intriguing look at the 'female' subject of one of Australia's most famous paintings. . . A spellbinding 'reads like fiction, but it's all true' biography.
Herbert Dyce Murphy was born in 1879 to a wealthy Melbourne family. Rejecting his father's traditional plans for him, he signed on to a wool clipper as a teenage apprentice, and ended up on whaling ships in the Arctic. It was then on to Oxford University in the UK, where he so convincingly played a woman on stage that British Intelligence recruited him to spy, in drag, in pre WWI Europe.
In 1911 Murphy sailed with the Mawson expedition to the Antarctic; a trip of terrible hardships which claimed lives--probably unnecessarily, says Rossiter. Using original source material, she paints an astonishing picture of day-to-day life on the frozen continent and expertly draws the reader back to a time when youthful adventurers risked all they had, in the name of exploration. Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer shines the spotlight at last on a remarkable Australian hero, whose story has been hidden for too long. Heather Rossiter was born in Tasmania. She worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the US Atomic Energy Commission and as a science teacher at Sydney Grammar School. She has always had a passion for travel and since retirement has been on many trips exploring Russia, the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and the arts of Islam. For the last few years, she has published reviews, articles and travel journalism. Lady Spy, Gentleman Explorer is her first book. She lives in Sydney.
--This publisher's blurb is linked to the ANARE Club website ( Haven't seen it but sounds interesting.

UPDATE: I was surprised at how poorly Mawson is presented in this book. He does not seem to have been a very companionable or competent leader. Can this be accurate?

--R. Stephenson
(6 April 2003)

BRITISH POLAR EXPLORATION AND RESEARCH; A HISTORICAL AND MEDALLIC RECORD WITH BIOGRAPHIES 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W. Poulsom in collaboration with Rear Admiral J.A.L. Myres CB. (London: Savannah Publications [90 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3HZ], 2000) 742 pp, £80. ISBN 1-902366-05-0. Website: E-mail:

"This book examines nineteenth and twentieth century British Polar exploration, search and research for which Arctic and Polar Medals have been awarded and, additionally, provides: biographies of the men and women who were engaged in these endeavours, about 3900 individuals in all; full medal rolls with clasp entitlements and notes concerning issue, duplicate medals and dubious provenances etc; crew muster lists of many of the ships involved; and the authorities for the institution and issue of these medals. There is also information on other Polar and Commemorative Medals, awarded by British and Foreign Societies and Governments.

As the only publication covering 180 years of British Polar history with this biographical breadth and on this particular area of numismatics, it will be an invaluable reference work."
--From the publisher's blurb.


The White Ribbon. A Medallic Record of British Polar Exploration, published in 1968, was written for those interested in Polar exploration and in the collecting of medals. In the 32 years since then much has happened in Polar exploration and there have been many additional awards of the Polar Medal. For some time as author of The White Ribbon, I had contemplated up-dating the book and increasing its scope. It was not until, by chance, I came in contact with John Myres that I got the motivation to bring the book up to date. The result is this new volume which has, amongst other things, been greatly enlarged by the inclusion of biographical details of the recipients of both the 19th Century Arctic Medals and of the 20th Century Polar Medal. I am greatly indebted to Rear Admiral Myres for the work he has put into this book, especially for the details about the recipients of the Arctic Medals, and it is therefore only right that the book is published in our joint names.

This new work includes all awards up to the end of 1999. The first part deals with the First Arctic (1818-55) and the Second Arctic (1875-76) Medals, the second part is devoted to the Polar Medal, and the third part with other awards.

In listing the recipients of the First Arctic Medal it is possible that some errors may still exist for, although compiled from all available sources, their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. In transcribing the Muster Lists of the naval ships eligible (in Appendix 1.1) and by comparing these with the names given in the relevant Medal Rolls, John Myres has, it is hoped, removed most of the anomalies that previously existed; where doubts remain these are included in the biographical details in Appendix 2.

In the second part, on advice and information received from David Yelverton, details of the clasps awarded with the Polar Medal for Mawson's (Australian) Expedition of 1912-14 and Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17 have been corrected. It is good to be able to record that the Polar Medal is no longer the preserve only of men and that three have already been awarded to women.

Information on other Polar awards contained in the third part has been increased by the inclusion of many more of the medals awarded by the United States of America, this information being provided by Alfred R. Kroulik Jnr.

Three notable expeditions which did not receive any recognition by the award of a medal were Sir James Clark Ross's Antarctic Expedition of 1839-43, C.E. Borchgrevink's Southern Cross Expedition of 1898-1900 and Dr Bruce's Scottish Antarctic Expedition of 1903-04. Belated recognition for the Southern Cross Expedition was made when the Polar Medal was awarded to H.G. Evans, its last surviving member, in 1976, although he did not live to receive it.

--Mayfield , East Sussex 2000


[NOTE: Arctic entries have been included so as to be all inclusive. For ease of entry, ship names have not been italicized.]

Foreword by Dr. Richard M. Laws CBE FRS FI Biol.





Description of the Medal
The voyages and expeditions for which the Medal was awarded:

1818 Voyages of Isabella, Alexander Trent and Dorothea
1819-20 Voyages of Hecla and Griper
1819-22 Land Expedition under John Franklin
1821-23 Voyages of Fury and Hecla
1823 Voyage of Griper
1824-25 Voyages of Hecla and Fury
1824 Voyage of Griper
1826 Land Expedition under John Franklin
1826 Voyage of Blossom
1827 Voyage of Hecla
1829-33 Voyage of Victory
1833-35 Land Expedition under George Back
1836-37 Voyage of Terror
1836-39 Land Expedition by the Hudson's Bay Company
1846-47 Land Expedition by the Hudson's Bay Company
1845-48 Voyages of Erebus and Terror
1848-59 General description of the Franklin Search Expeditions
1848 Land Expedition under Sir John Richardson
1848-49 Voyages of Enterprise and Investigator
1849-50 Voyage of North Star
1848-54 Voyages of Plover and Herald
1849 Voyage of Nancy Dawson
1850-53 Voyages of Enterprise and Investigator
1853-54 Voyage of Rattlesnake
1850-51 Voyages of Resolute, Assistance, Lady Franklin, Sophia, Felix, Prince Albert, and the US Ships Advance and Rescue
1852 Voyage of Isabel
1852-54 Voyages of Assistance, Resolute, Pioneer, Intrepid and North Star
1853 Voyage of Breadalbane
1853-54 Voyages of Phoenix
1853-55 Voyage by Dr E.K. Kane
1855 Search for Dr Kane by US Ships Release and Arctic
1853-54 Land Discovery Expedition by the Hudson's Bay Company
1854-55 Land Search Expedition by the Hudson's Bay Company
1857-59 Voyage of Fox
Ships referred to


Description of the Medal
The voyages for which the Medal was awarded:

1875-76 Voyage of Alert and Discovery
1876 Voyage of Pandora

1.1 Ships' companies of vessels that were involved in Arctic discovery and search, and for which the Arctic Medal 1818-55 was awarded.
1.2 Personnel who took part in expeditions on land and in private ships, and in United States expeditions who were awarded the Arctic Medal 1818-55
2.0 Alphabetical list of those eligible for the award of the Arctic Medal 1815-55
3.1 Alphabetical list of Hudson's Bay Company servants eligible for the Arctic Medal for expeditions between 1819 and 1855
3.2 Hudson's Bay Company expeditions and personnel eligible for the Arctic Medal between 1819 and 1855
4.0 Medal Roll of the recipients of the Arctic Medal 1875-76
5.0 Extracts from the London Gazettes concerning the award of the Arctic Medals of 1818-55 and 1875-76



Description of the Medal
Clasps awarded
Expeditions for which the Polar Medal was awarded :

1902-04 British Antarctic Expedition
1907-09 Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Furthest South Expedition
1910-13 British Antarctic Expedition
1912-14 Douglas Mawson's Australian Expedition
1914-16 Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition
1917 Aurora Antarctic Relief Expedition
1925-39 Antarctic Research Work
1929-31 British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE)
1935-37 British Graham Land Expedition
1944-62 Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS)
1962-99 British Antarctic Survey (BAS)
1954-79 Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions
1951-52 French Antarctic Expedition to Adelie Land
1950-52 Norwegian, British, Swedish Antarctic Expedition
1956-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition
1956-58 Royal Society Antarctic Expedition
1957 New Zealand Antarctic Expedition I.G.Y .
1957-92 New Zealand Antarctic Research Expeditions
1980-82 British Trans-Globe Expedition
1984-85 Joint Services Expedition to Brabant Island
1985-86 In the Footsteps of Scott Expedition
1992-93 Unassisted Crossing of the Antarctic Expedition
1930-31 British Arctic Air Route Expedition
1935-36 Oxford University Expedition to North East Land
1940-44 Royal Canadian Mounted Police Patrols in St Roch
1952-54 British North Greenland Expedition
1966-69 British Trans-Arctic Expedition
1985-97 Various Arctic and Antarctic Expeditions
1 Medal Roll for the Silver Polar Medal awarded for the Antarctic
2 Medal Roll for the Silver Polar Medal awarded for both Antarctic and Arctic
3 Medal Roll for the Silver Polar Medal awarded for the Arctic
4 Medal Roll for the Bronze Polar Medal
5 Alphabetical list of those awarded the Polar Medal with biographical details
6 Authority for the award of Medals and Clasps
7 Extracts from London Gazettes concerning the award of Polar Medals


The Royal Medals
The Special Medals
The Special Awards

United Kingdom
South Africa
United States

1 Extracts from Commonwealth of Australia Gazettes concerning the award of the Australian Antarctic Medal



The Arctic Medal 1818-1855
The Arctic Medal 1875-1876
Dr John Rae's Arctic Medal 1818-1855 with unofficial clasps
Francis Leopold McClintock
George Back
William Edward Parry
Richard Vesey Hamilton and his group of medals
George Strong Nares
Henry Frederick Stephenson
William Henry May

The Polar Medal 1904
George Colin Lawder Bertram
Margaret Ann Bradshaw
John Raymond Foggan
Peter Wylie King
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary
David Dilwyn John
Sydney Lorrimar Kirkby
Morton Henry Moyes
Barry William Seedsman
Richard Walter Richards GC
Kenneth John Sherman
Sir Douglas Mawson
Robert Baden Thomson
Frank A. Worsley
Alan Douglas Parker
Æneas Lionel Acton MacKintosh
Francis Edward Charles Davies
Robert Edward Dudley Ryder VC
Victor Lindsay Arbuthnot Campbell and his group of medals
Sir Joseph Holmes Miller
Dr Arthur Richard Cecil Butson GC

Royal Geographical Society 1897 Nansen Medal
Royal Geographical Society 1904 Scott Medal
Royal Geographical Society 1909 Shackleton Medal
Royal Geographical Society 1910 Peary Medal
Royal Geographical Society 1913 Scott Memorial Medal
Royal Geographical Society 1958 Fuchs Medal
Royal Geographical Society Royal Medals
Scottish National Antarctic Expedition Medal 1902-1904
Royal Society of Edinburgh Bruce Memorial Medal
Australian Department of Supply Antarctic Medallion
Australian Department of Science Antarctic Medallion
Australian Antarctic Medal
Norwegian Medal for Civil Merit
Norwegian South Pole Medal
Norwegian Maudheim Commemorative Medal
USA Jeanette Arctic Expedition Medal 1879-1881
USA Peary Polar Expedition Medal 1908-1909
USA Byrd Antarctic Expedition Medal 1928-1930
USA Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition Medal 1933-1935
USA Antarctic Expedition Medal 1939-1941
USA Antarctic Service Medal
USA Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal

A massive compendium bearing little resemblance to its predecessor--The White Ribbon. Particularly useful is Appendix 5 to Part II, an 'Alphabetical List of Polar Medal Recipients 1904-1999', stretching from page 457 to page 663, George Abbott to Ian Zmood. Some of the biographical entries approach a page in length. Very useful reference.
--R. Stephenson
(24 June 2001)

There appears in the most recent issue of Antarctic, The Journal of the New Zealand Antarctic Society [vol 18, Nos. 3 and 4, 2001], an extensive review of the book by Glenn Stein. It is not always glowing in its praise. He writes: "I am mystified, however, by the minefield of errors and omissions..."
--R. Stephenson
(9 July 2001)

UPDATE: Glenn Stein has kindly sent me a copy of his review of the book that appeared in the June 2001 issue of the Journal of The Orders and Medals Research Society. It is a very much more detailed treatment of the book and was the basis for the piece in Antarctic. It also includes a response by Messrs. Poulsom and Myres and Mr Stein's "last word." In all, it runs seven pages. Those interested might wish to seek it out.
--R. Stephenson
(2 September 2003)

UPDATE: Glenn Stein has kindly allowed me to include his review here. Because of its length and the subject of this site, I've edited out most references to the Arctic.

As a researcher and collector of polar medals for 17 years, an updated and revised edition of Lieut.-Col, Polsom's 1968 work The White Ribbon had been anticipated for several years. The result is a book three times the length of its predecessor, and though it may seem expensive at £80 one should bear in mind that scarce used copies of the original White Ribbon sell for £50-60.

The text of the new work regarding descriptions of the primary medals concerned (Arctic 1818-55, Arctic 1875-76 and 1904 Polar Medals) and related expedition histories, was essentially taken directly from The White Ribbon. Additions and corrections were made, most notably much additional information on the Hudson's Bay Company recipients and the mention of the 1898-1900 Southern Cross Expedition member who was awarded a Polar Medal in 1976. This unusual award of the medal to the expedition's last surviving member rang a sad note when the gentleman died a few months before the London Gazette announcement.

On an earlier Antarctic note, the introductory paragraph to Franklin's last expedition says that the Erebus and Terror '...had been used by Sir James Clark Ross in his three memorable voyages in the Antarctic in 1839-43 (for which there was subsequently no medallic recognition).' It should be noted that Ross did request an Arctic 1818-55 Medal (First Arctic) for his crews, but it was refused by the Admiralty. As several of these men also participated in Arctic voyages which qualified for the award, it's a pity that a full listing of these 'north and south men' was not included in the book.

The heart of this reference work lies in the biographical and medallic information. There is no doubt that there has been a wealth of data added since the publication of The White Ribbon, and that this information will benefit collectors and researchers for years to come. I am mystified, however, by the minefield of errors and omissions due to the severe underutilisation of published data and original research available to the authors.

Some 250 pages contain in alphabetical listing of persons eligible for the First Arctic Medal, along with varying amounts of biographical information, whether or not the medal was issued to the individual or next of kin, and if a named/attributable medal is known to exist. The award was issued with a plain edge, though several recipients/family members had it engraved with individual details. Though this section has many biographical details, much of what is in print has been left untouched I will now provide some problematic examples.

[Much of pp. 107-109 is left out as the text deals exclusively with the Arctic.]

Turning to the 1904 Polar Medal, which covers expeditions for both the Arctic and Antarctic and is still issued today, it is pleasing to see many details under the recipients' biographies. Unfortunately, mention is not always made of polar services for which no medal/bar was awarded to the individuals. In addition, it is worthy to note that some recipients were awarded military campaign medals for scientific work in vastly different climes. Dr. Stanley Wells Kemp, F.R.S., is a good example. A recipient of the Royal Geographical Society's Victoria Medal, Kemp received the Indian General Service Medal in Silver, with bar for Abor 1911-12, while the Zoologist attached to the Survey of India party accompanying the expedition in north eastern India.

The particularly frustrating thing about the biographies concerns the listing and handling of recipients' medals and artifacts, which in several cases are not mentioned at all. A case in point is Lieut. H.R. Bowers, R.I.M., who died with Captain Scott on the way back from the South Pole. On June 28, 1984, Sotheby's auctioned Bowers' medals, to include his Polar Medal, Royal Geographical Society (R.G.S.) Silver Medal (unnamed as issued, in case of issue), and an Italian Royal Geographical Society Silver Medal (named and dated, in case of issue). The lot made £13,000; as of 1995, it was still in a private collection in Canada. At the same sale Capt. Oates similar group of medals made £50,000, but this too is omitted from the text.

Turning to the medals of Petty Officer Frank V. Browning, of the 1910-13 Antarctic Expedition's Northern Party, Poulsom simply states: 'He held the following medals:- 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Polar Medal'. In fact, in March 1970. Browning's group was offered in Spink's Numismatic Circular at £350, but the British War Medal (B.W.M.) was noted as missing, and there was a R.G.S. Special Medal in Bronze with the lot; the latter was not noted as being named. By February 1978, the lot was offered by a dealer at £750, but this time, a B.W.M. was included with engraved naming; again, the R.G.S. Medal was not noted as being named. At the 1992 O.M.S.A. convention, Browning's group was offered on consignment by a leading medal firm, without the Polar Medal, for, £750, on this occasion, the R.G.S. medal was named (in tall, thin, serifed capitals). The lot did not sell and was eventually auctioned in May 1993 for £630. As of 1996, the Polar Medal was held by a Briton living in South Africa.

The Boatswain of the 1902-04 Antarctic Expedition was a Petty Officer 1st Cl. named Thomas A.F. Feather, and the entry regarding his awards is typically bland: 'Awarded the following medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Polar Medal, Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (EViiR)'. The group, in private hands in Britain, also includes several artifacts: silver bosun's pipe and chain, one gilt Discovery uniform button, silver monogramed cigarette case, brass and enamel pocket matchbox (an official memento of the Channel Fleet's visit to Blackpool during 9-11 August 1907), and silver monogramed napkin ring. Over the years, another gilt button and three spoons were separated from the lot, the latter going to Feather's daughter. On a final note, Feather was specially Mentioned in Despatches (M.I.D.) by Scott, and this fact is not indicated in the writings.

Oddly, the style of noting individuals' awards changed from the First and Second Arctic Medals to the Polar Medal. In the former, the existence of medals is stated in the text, but in the latter, individuals' entitlements are simply noted in the vast majority of cases. Again, as with the Arctic Medals, it would have been so much more meaningful, from a collector's and researcher's point of view, to include various artifacts and documents accompanying the Polar Medals. The omission of this information also damaged the provenance of the items, as does the lack of naming details and styles. There have been excellent published articles on the latter. Finally, the medal rolls do not differentiate bar only awards (except in one instance) to men who already had a Polar Medal.

I have said much about omitted information throughout this review, and in fact, there is wasted space in the book's design, thus allowing for more information if more thought had been put into this area. For example, in a large number of cases, the information of name, rank/rate, ship, years served and whether or not the First Arctic Medal was issued can be put on one line and not three lines. Surely Quartermaster, Able Seaman, Private, etc., could have been abbreviated QM, AB and Pte., in the medal roll. Similar arguments can be made for the Polar Medal biographies regarding the bar entitlements and whether a Silver or Bronze Medal was issued. Also, it was repetitious to print the various gazette entries, and other authorities, three times - in the section's introduction, the Polar Medal rolls and the biographical listings, thus needlessly taking up space. Much is made in the book about the different years of service on the Discovery Investigations' Bronze awards (1925-39), and this could have been condensed down to a couple of pages with years of service included in brackets after the men's names.

The next area of concern is the chapter titled 'Other Medals and Medallions'. The R.G.S. medallic information is enhanced by a list of recipients of Royal Medals, but remarkably, descriptions of the R.G.S. Special Medals lack any mention of naming. In the case of medals issued by the United States government, some were issued officially named, but this is only mentioned in one case. In describing the reverse of the Jeannette Arctic Expedition Medal, 1879-1882, the following misleading words appear: '...towards the top, is a space for the recipient's name to be engraved.', which leads one to believe the awards were issued unnamed. The latter is not the case, and I have noted at least two styles of naming for the medal. As a footnote to this sad venture, Seaman Herbert W. Leach was the last survivor, passing away in 1933. I have seen a photograph of him admiring a model of a memorial to honor the Jeannette's people, and he is wearing his medal.

Two notable medals which are mentioned among the First Arctic medal roll biographies are strangely missing from this chapter. They are the Sea Gallantry Medal (Foreign Services) and The Grinnell Medal. Poulsom incorrectly describes the former, under Jefferson Temple Baker's heading, simply as a Sea Gallantry Medal (S.G.M., which is still issued today, is a British Government award for lifesaving, as opposed to the S.G.M. (Foreign Services), which is given to foreigners for humanity and lifesaving involving British subjects). A special Foreign Services Medal was given to members of the 1853-55 American Kane Arctic Expedition in Gold and Silver (without suspensions) for efforts related to the search for the lost Franklin Expedition. Each medal had naming details inscribed on the edge.

The Grinnell Medal was also awarded as a result of the search for the lost Franklin Expedition. From 1850-51, two whale ships, privately purchased by American businessman Henry Grinnell and renamed Advance and Rescue were crewed by U.S. Navy officers and men and sent to the Arctic. After the expedition's return, silver medals were presented to the officers and crew of both vessels. The 38 mm. medal's obverse features the ships' names and depictions of the vessels trapped in pack ice, while the reverse has the following: 'PRESENTED BY THE BRITISH RESIDENTS OF NEW YORK, TO (recipient's rank and name) IN COMMEMORATION OF HIS SERVICES, IN THE AMERICAN ARCTIC EXPEDITION, SENT BY HENRY GRINNELL ESQ. IN SEARCH OF SIR JOHN FRANKLIN. 1851.'.

A final note addresses the images of recipients. Only officers' pictures are published for the First and Second Arctic Medals, and the quality of these images varies. It seems odd that the engraving of George Strong Nares wearing only his First Arctic Medal was used, since a fine portrait photograph exists showing him as a Vice Admiral, wearing both Arctic Medals mounted together and the insignia of the Knight Commander of the Bath (Civil). This photograph is even mentioned in the text.

It would have been nice to see varied images, such as Danish Eskimo Dog Sledge Driver and interpreter Johann Carl Christian Petersen, whose account of the voyage of the Fox (1857-59) was published in 1860, and is mentioned by Poulsom. This work features an engraving of Petersen and he is wearing the Order of Dannebrog (Knight) and the First Arctic Medal. Not listed in the book is Petersen's role as Guide during the 1861 Swedish Torel Expedition. A photograph of French Navy Ensign Emil DeBray shows him wearing the Legion of Honour and the First Arctic award. DeBray had served during the 1852-54 Franklin search expedition on board the Resolute. The photograph appears in his translated journal (published 1992) and Poulsom mentions the journal. American Thomas Hickey, a crew member during the 1853-54 Kane Expedition, is pictured in his narrative of the voyage, wearing the First Arctic and possibly the S.G.M. (Foreign Services) Medal. There are also several available images of the Greenlander Hans Christian Hendrik, and at least one of Johan Frederik Wille, who was a Dog Sledge Driver and Hunter in the Alert (1875-76). and Robert Peary's interpreter and Pilot in 1886.

It was a pleasure to see a photograph of one of the very few women to receive the Polar Medal, Mrs. Margaret Ann Bradshaw. She is a New Zealand scientist who '...made a major contribution to the New Zealand Antarctic Programme over a period of 17 years.'. The bar reads ANTARCTIC TO 1992, and she is pictured wearing her award.


Lt-Col. Poulsom and Rear Admiral Myres respond: As Glenn Stein has observed in the above critique, the principal difference between the new book and Neville Poulsom's The White Ribbon, upon which it is based, is that nearly two-thirds of it is taken up with 'mini-biographies' of the 4000 or so individuals to whom the two 19th Century Arctic Medals and the 20th Century Polar Medal was awarded. The object of publishing this account was both to bring up-to-date and correct the original volume but also to add some flesh to the bones of the many men (and a few women) behind the medals.

In attempting this, there have inevitably had to be a lot of compromises. Amongst these were the ever-present problems of what to leave out in order to keep the book to manageable proportions and cost--and the latter has, I'm afraid, been inevitably rather higher than we would have wished because of its very specialist nature and short printing run.

Stein's criticisms are fairly widely-drawn, and some are certainly justified, but whilst it would have been very nice to include details of all the polar ephemera noted in auction catalogues against every group or medal that was on the market in the 20th Century, I fear that this was not a practical task.

It is quite true that inaccuracies and omissions appear in the First Arctic Medal rolls in the Public Record Office, but this is the first attempt to publish in one volume such details about these medals that are so recorded. Certainly there may be some instances when a very late claim for a medal has not been recorded in the original roll, and there are certainly cases where First Arctic medals have been subsequently named by persons, and to persons, for whom there is no recorded entitlement. If later issue and entitlement can be proved, we will be happy to record this in any later edition. In the meanwhile our record remains 'the best available information'.

We are delighted to read of the Second Arctic medals of which Stein is aware and we were not. Those in private collections or still 'in the family' would not necessarily have been known to us, and those recorded in the first two decades of the century may well no longer exist, but they are all grist to this particular mill and add to the remarkably high survival rate for this rare medal; with only 155 awarded with 12 known duplicates and including some, at least, of Stein's, the survival rate is just over 50%. We wonder how it compares with other survival rates for a 'campaign' medal.

Turning to the extant Polar Medal, Stein is disappointed at the lack of information on polar service for which no medal or additional clasp was awarded. Short of requesting curricula vitae from all living recipients--even supposing that their whereabouts were known--this would have been an impossible task and would, in any case, have made for a far weightier tome. As it was, although the skeleton of each 'mini-bio' was obtained from the London Gazette and other published sources as well as correspondence, much additional information was gleaned from sources which are not yet in the public domain.

Similarly information on campaign and other medals to which recipients were entitled could usually be obtained from auction catalogues, from obituaries and from personal correspondence--and a great deal was. The extra information provided by Stein has been recorded for any new edition.

Any book with a scope of some 4000 individuals and covering nearly two centuries is likely to have gaps in it. But, as Dr Laws says in his Foreword '. . . . this book is an invaluable source of information and, especially, is a firm basis for further research into the "the men behind the medals"'. If we had done till the research, there would be no fun for anyone else!

Glenn Stein's last word regarding his review: I appreciate the authors taking the time and effort to respond to my review. It's refreshing to see them accepting my criticisms with grace. There are always difficulties in producing such a work. Given that it's been 30 years since the publication of The White Ribbon, I fear cost, the very specialist nature and a short printing run, makes another edition to the recent volume far beyond the horizon. Consequently, I hope the book and my review will encourage further research, discussion and debate on this topic. All comments, criticisms and questions are also encouraged through the post (Glenn M. Stein, 1268 Foxforrest Circle, Apopka, Florida 32712-2335, USA) or via my e-mail address:

(3 September 2003)

THE ANTARCTIC DICTIONARY: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO ANTARCTIC ENGLISH by Bernadette Hince. Foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. (Collingwood, Australia: CSIRO Publishing, 2000) 394 pp, A$39.95. ISBN 0-9577471-1X.

From the back cover: "Here, for the first time, is a complete guide to the origin of Antarctic words, from the humorous to the obscure. Like other historical dictionaries, The Antarctic Dictionary gives the reader quotations for each word. More than 15,000 quotations from about 1000 different sources give the reader a unique insight into the way the language of Antarctica has evolved."

A lot of work went into this, obviously a labor of love. The quotes and sources make it a veritable OED of the Antarctic and a great joy to pick up from time to time for casual perusal. And for that occasional curious word, a useful resource.
--R. Stephenson
(15 March 2001)

CHELTENHAM IN ANTARCTICA: THE LIFE OF EDWARD WILSON by Dr David M. Wilson FZS and David B. Elder (Cheltenham: Reardon Publishing, 2000) 144 pp, 30 plates and 66 drawings by Wilson. Paperback £9.99. ISBN 1-873877-45-5. There is also a hardback edition, boxed, signed and limited to 500 copies, priced at £40. ISBN 1-873877-54-4. All royalties go to the Wilson Family Archive Fund at the Cheltenham Museum.

This is a marvelous effort by the authors, David Wilson, grand nephew of Edward Wilson, and David Elder, a local Cheltenham librarian. There's much new material and new illustrations, not only related to Wilson's time in Cheltenham but elsewhere as well including the Antarctic. The final 18 pages describe four self-guided walks in and around Cheltenham, linking numerous sites associated with Wilson and his family.

David Wilson and Judy Skelton (granddaughter of Reginald Skelton) are now working on a book of illustrations for the Discovery Expedition centenary and David is continuing his research on his uncle which he hopes will lead to a full academic biography.
--R. Stephenson
(11 January 2001)

Edward Adrian Wilson is perhaps the most famous native son of Cheltenham. In the early years of the 20th century, he was one of the major influences and personalities of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and has also been recognised as one of the top ranking ornithologists and naturalists in the UK during this period. He was also one of the last great scientific expedition artists. This is the illustrated story of polar explorer Edward Wilson, from his boyhood in Cheltenham to the diaries and letters associated with his last days as a member of Scott's ill-fated Antarctic expedition. All the royalties from this book will benefit the Wilson Collection Fund at the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums."

The book is available from and, although not yet listed, is due to be available from Barnes & Noble (

UPDATE: David Wilson e-mails to say: "The paper back re-print of 'Cheltenham in Antarctica' and the new collector's hard back will be available from early October."
(1 September 2002)

UPDATE: David Wilson e-mails to say that "...the special hard back edition of 'Cheltenham in Antarctica: the life of Edward Wilson' is now available. It is boxed, signed, bound in leather, numbered, etc., and limited to 500 copies. We have also reprinted the paperback--as the first printing of 2000 copies has sold out (except for a few copies still floating around aboard cruise ships!). As always, these may be found (and ordered!) via my publisher's web site"
(23 October 2002)

THE GERALD F. FITZGERALD COLLECTION OF POLAR BOOKS, MAPS, AND ART AT THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY, A CATALOGUE compiled by David C. White and Patrick Morris, edited by Robert W. Karrow, Jr. (Chicago: The Newberry Library, 2000). 227 pp, 16 color plates, 10 halftones. Paperback $25 ISBN 0-911028-70-6, cloth $35 ISBN 0-911028-68-4. Distributed by the University of Chicago Press for The Newberry Library.ISBN 0-948065-37-0.

With almost 300 maps, 767 books, and two dozen art works and artifacts, the Gerald F. Fitzgerald Collection is a major assemblage of material on the discovery and exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This catalogue provides full descriptions of all the important nineteenth and twentieth century published accounts, the personal map collection of explorer Sir James Wordie, and manuscript letters of Peary, Scott, Shackleton, Mawson and others. The book concludes with detailed indexes to authors, titles, and subjects.

This should prove an excellent reference for polar collectors. Handsomely produced, it includes a Foreword by Charles T. Cullen, President and Librarian of The Newberry Library (1p); an Introduction by Gerald F. Fitzgerald (3pp); a list of References Cited (4pp); Books and Manuscripts, arranged alphabetically by author with partial collations, references, notes, (767 entries, 133pp); Separate Maps, arranged geographically and by date (296 entries, 53pp); Paintings, Artifacts, etc. (6pp), arranged by Paintings (13 entries), Artifacts (4 entries), Films (2 entries), Prints and Photographs (7 entries), Philately and Currency (5 entries); and Index (32pp).

See under 'Events' elsewhere on this site for a description of the Newberry's recent exhibit of the Fitzgerald Collection.

SOUTH: THE RACE TO THE POLE by Pieter van der Merwe, General Editor, and others (London: National Maritime Museum, 2000). 144 pp, paperback, £12.99. ISBN 0-948065-37-0.

This is the tie-in book to the hugely successful Antarctic show now at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Unfortunately it's not a catalogue, in the sense that each object of the many on display, is identified and described. [Would be nice to know from what collection each item comes from, information that's included in the captions (see under 'Antarctic Events' for the listing I did up during my visit to the exhibit in November).] The three authors responsible other than van der Merwe: Diana Preston, Robert E. Feeney and Luke McKernan. Lots of illustrations, some from the show, others not; some familiar, others not previously published. Excellent summary and comparison of sledging rations (Fram, Discovery, Terra Nova, Team Polar 2000) on pp. 86-87. Well produced. Included: Index; Bibliography; Recommended Websites; Listing of personnel on Discovery, Nimrod, Terra Nova and Endurance (but not Fram!); 43 selected biographies. Items from recent sales at Christie's loom large. [See the exhibit entry under 'Events' elsewhere on this site for a reasonably complete listing that I made in November, 2000.]
--R. Stephenson
(4 December 2000)

SHACKLETON: THE ANTARCTIC AND ENDURANCE by Dr Jan Piggott, F.S.A., Editor, and others (London: Dulwich College, 2000). 158 pp, cloth (£25) and paperback (£15). ISBN 0-9539493-0-3 (cloth); 0-9539493-1-1.

With the National Maritime Museum concentrating on the 'Race to the Pole,' nearby Dulwich College is doing likewise with Shackleton who, along with P.G. Wodehouse, is the school's most famous old boy. This is more of a catalogue than the NMM's effort in that most items (of many) are described and identified as to ownership. In addition there are five essays: 'The Last Hurdle--following Shackleton's footsteps across South Georgia' by mountaineer Stephen Venables; 'Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration' and 'Principal Expeditions during the Heroic Age of Antarctica' by Robert Headland, Scott Polar Research Institute Archivist and Curator; 'Shackleton at South Georgia' by Robert Burton, historian of South Georgia; 'Tom Crean: Unsung Hero, by Michael Smith, author of the recent Tom Crean biography [see below]; and 'A Man of Action, and yet a Man of Books' by Jan Piggott, Dulwich College teacher of English, Keeper of Archives and Curator of the exhibit. Foreword by The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton. Individual essays by Jan Piggott: The James Caird; Early Years and Discovery (1901-03); Nimrod (1907-09), Sir Philip Brocklehurst and Nimrod; Endurance (1914-16); George Marston; Frank Hurley; Quest (1921-22) and Death. It's a beautifully done book, produced very quickly but without suffering a bit in the process.
--R. Stephenson
(4 December 2000)

GEORGE MARSTON: SHACKLETON'S ANTARCTIC ARTIST by Stephen Locke (Winchester?: Hampshire County Council, 2000). [29] pp, paper £1. ISBN 1-85975-357-4. ISSN 0964-9883. Hampshire Papers No 19

A great bargain at £1; so too if it were £10. Very handsomely produced large format pamphlet with many illustrations by and about Marston, most not previously published. Only drawback is that there is no address included for ordering copies. At the moment it's available at the shop set up at Dulwich College for the current Shackleton exhibit. I include below the abstract appearing on the inside front cover.
--R. Stephenson
(4 December 2000)


George Marston (1882-1940) was a man who with the support of the developing system of higher education for working people left his conventional artisan background in Portsmouth to be trained as an art teacher in London. He played a significant role in Shackleton's two major Antarctic expeditions (1907-9 and 1914-16) and illustrated the official accounts. Between these expeditions he strengthened his link with Hampshire when he married Hazel Roberts, the daughter of the unconventional Dr Harry Roberts, the focus of a bohemian artistic and literary circle in the Petersfield area. Returning to Oakshott after the famous Endurance expedition to the Antarctic, George Marston entered a second phase of his life by joining the newly-created Rural Industries Bureau of which he became Director in 1934. Using a combination of his wide practical skills and aesthetic judgement, allied to his innate capacity to relate to ordinary rural craftspeople, he played a major role in the national initiative to regenerate small rural craft-based industry. He died in office in 1940 having played a major role in establishing policies and programmes which continue to this day.

George Marston did not promote himself, was never well known as an artist beyond the immediate excitement of Shackleton's expeditions and like most ordinary families his was not self-regarding enough to keep a record of its activity. This paper, which is based on Antarctic sources, official records of the Rural Industries Bureau, and the family material which does survive, is the first biographical sketch of George Marston, introduces the Rural Industries Bureau and its work in Hampshire, and presents a picture of a very interesting man whose life and achievements are well worth recording.

SHACKLETON'S CAPTAIN: A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANK WORSLEY by John Thomson (Christchurch: Hazard Press and Toronto and Buffalo: Mosaic Press, 1999). 208pp, paperback. US$16.95 ($19.95 Canada). ISBN 0-88962-678-2 (Mosaic Press edition)

CONTENTS- [with some comments by R. Stephenson]
The Family
First Voyage
Pacific Command
One the Ice with Shackleton [Nice sketch of the Endurance by 'W.E.H.']
To Elephant Island [A photo at Cape Wild on p 65 I've not seen before.]
The Boat Crew
Preparing the Boat
The Boat Journey
Over the Island [Interesting painting by Shilstone of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean traversing South Georgia.]
New Zealand with Shackleton
1917: The Submarine
The Annie and the Quest [Group photograph of Shackleton and others in Rio de Janeiro on p 137 and one of EHS and Worsley on the Quest. First time I've seen these before.]
Arctic Exploration
London Life
Treasure Island
Last Posts [Interesting photos of Worsley's funeral procession, etc. Also, photo of his medals.]
The Boat
Appendix 1: Edward Saunders, the shy ghost writer
Appendix 2: T.H. Orde-Lees and Harry McNeish, Karori companions [Photos of their grave markers are included.]
Appendix 3: Gordon Burt, a biographical note
Appendix 4: Roderick Carr and the Antarctic Baby aircraft
From a recent e-mail from the author: "Frank Worsley went to sea as an apprentice at the age of 16, and many years later he wrote a wonderful book about that first journey--'First Voyage in a Square-Rigged Ship'. In fact it was the last of four books he wrote, two of the others being his well-known accounts of the 'Endurance' adventure, followed by the great boat journey and the crossing of South Georgia. 'First Voyage' is a lovingly crafted memoir, prepared over many years and published only a few years before he died during World War II. His fourth book is 'Under Sail in The Frozen North', an account of his voyage in a sailing ship in Arctic waters in the early 1920s--another gem about sailing from a master mariner and navigator. Worsley is now recognised by many students of the Shackleton years as the man whose great skills in the final stages of the expedition saved it from failure. This is stated by such veterans as Albert Armitage (second-in-command to Scott in the Discovery expedition) and Duncan Carse, from another generation. His worth was clearly under-valued in the official story of the 'Endurance' expedition. It has been revived and explained at length in 'Shackleton's Captain', the first biography of Frank Worsley, written by a New Zealand writer, John Thomson, and published both in NZ and Toronto, Canada. It is available through and barnes& and from the publishers, Hazard Press, PO Box 2151, Christchurch, New Zealand, and Mosaic Press, 1252 Speers Rd, Oakville, Ontario. Worsley had an action-packed life, from early years in wool clippers under sail between NZ and England, then as skipper of schooners roaming the Pacific Ocean until he sought work in England and joined Shackleton after what became famous as 'Worsley's Dream'. After the dramatic rescue of the Elephant Island men, Worsley--a naval reserve officer--went to war and won a gallantry medal (Distinguished Service Order) for sinking a German submarine in much the same way as he took the 'Endurance' through the ice: he rammed it. He won a second DSO award on land in Russia fighting the Red Army after the Great War, and following the 'Quest' journey, during which Shackleton died, he sailed north into the Arctic for more exploration and adventure. Worsley lived precariously between the wars, and in 1939 he lied about his age (he was nearly 70) and secured command of a vessel for salvage work in the English Channel. The Admiralty sacked him when they discovered the truth! The battling mariner got a shore post at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, London. He died during the war, in 1943, from lung cancer. Thomson's book features many 'new' photographs of Worsley's adventurous years, and has been favourably reviewed in the dot-coms and in the New York Times Book Review. It has been re-printed twice in New Zealand alone, and has been recommended as a brilliant addition to the Polar library."

ANTARCTIC JOURNAL: THE HIDDEN WORLDS OF ANTARCTICA'S ANIMALS by Meredith Hooper, illustrated by Lucia deLeiris (London: Frances Lincoln, 2000) £10.99. To be published in the US as well.

This is the record, in diary form of the summer spent by the author and illustrator at a scientific base on the western Antarctic peninsula. Above all, it records the prolific animal life of the region and the self-sustaining strength of the ecosystem that supports it. The artwork includes many full-colour illustrations and sketches. The book includes maps, a glossary and an index together with a commentary on the potential effects of pollution and of climatic change. While scientific and geographical interest is obvious, this book will tie in well with the need to study non-fictional observational records in years five and six.
--From "Back to School Bookseller"

Author and illustrator spent three and a half months with the US National Science Foundation on Palmer Station on the Western Antarctic Peninsula, watching the rich and brief burst of summer growth. Their account has an on-the-spot immediacy.
--From: "Bologna highlights"

From the back of the book itself:

"Antarctica is a desert, vast and frozen. Yet there is life in Antarctica. Abundant, wonderful life. The land does not feed the millions of animals that manage to survive in this harsh and beautiful place. The ocean fuels Antarctica's life."

Written and researched in Antarctica with stunning sketches and watercolours completed on site, 'Antarctic Journal' creates a vibrant sense of the crowded Antarctic summer. Experienced Antarctic expeditioners Meredith Hooper and Lucia deLeiris travelled for three and a half months, selected by the US Antarctic Artists and Writers Program.

This unique journal includes information on the Antarctic eco-system, climate change, the food web, maps and an index.

(16 November 2000)

THE RACE TO THE WHITE CONTINENT: VOYAGES TO THE ANTARCTIC by Alan Gurney (New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 2000) 320pp. $26.95. ISBN 0-393-05004-1

Author of the well-received Below the Convergence: Voyages Toward Antarctica, 1699-1839, Alan Gurney's new book focuses on the expeditions of Wilkes, Ross and Dumont d'Urville. Extensive bibliography, Index, 11 maps, 9 of them at a common scale. Excellent, a nice change of pace from Shackletonmania. Gurney is now establishing himself as today's most skillful and absorbing writer on the Antarctic; for an Antarctic book, hard to put down.
--R. Stephenson
(4 December 2000)

SHACKLETON'S PHOTOGRAPHER Frank Hurley's 'Endurance' Diaries 1914-17 edited and annotated for publication by Shane Murphy. 2000. $19.95, CD. Available by check or money order from [NOTE: Now superseded by the The Standard Edition; see below.]

A thorough day-by-day account of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 'Endurance' expedition illustrated with over 200 original lantern slides, rare Paget Colour plates and digitized color prints, this book on CD-ROM in Acrobat READER, includes many of Hurley's line drawings, maps and diagrams, and incorporates the first-hand observations of a dozen other expedition members. Shackleton's Photographer contains 34 chapters, one for each month of Hurley's involvement in expedition matters. Extensive endnotes, detailed background information and a thorough Afterword on Hurley, along with a concise bibliography and eight appendices, make this book in electronic form the most comprehensive account of the 'Endurance' expedition ever offered.

Reviews: "Mr. Murphy has done a remarkable job in his research and writing of Shackleton's Photographer. It is apparent he has also spent a significant amount of time and effort developing the PDF version of his work. We highly recommend Shackleton's Photographer..." Dick Elwood, ElwoodeBooks

"...many, many congratulations. It is both formidable scholarship and physically beautiful. I make an impassioned plea on behalf of all us non-electronic fogies who still live in the Heroic Age of technology 'please, please get it also published on paper!' ...congratulations on such a successful conclusion to all your hard work." Caroline Alexander, author, Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Expedition.
(26 June 2000)

Shane has released a new (and final!) version: Here are the details:
SHACKLETON'S PHOTOGRAPHER THE STANDARD EDITION. Photographs of Scenes and Diary of Incidents in Connection with Happenings to the Weddell Sea Party. 12th October, 1914 - 16th October, 1917. Edited and and annotated by Shane Murphy. 2001. $29.95, CD. ISBN: 0-9703148-2-5. Available by check or money order from

A book on CD-ROM in Adobe Acrobat READER. Illustrated with over 250 original lantern slides, rare Paget Colour plates, digitized color prints and many of Hurley's line drawings, maps and diagrams. Revised and updated, 2001. 341 legal-size pages 'antiqued' to appear much like Hurley's original diaries. Fully printable 4-color version. $29.95 ISBN 0-9703148-2-5 (replaces ISBN 0-9703148-1-7).

SHACKLETON'S PHOTOGRAPHER is Frank Hurley's daily on-site record of the 'Endurance' expedition. Incorporated into Hurley's own account are the observations of a dozen other expedition members, including Frank Wild, Frank Worsley, Thomas Orde-Lees, Reginald James, Lionel Greenstreet, Walter How, 'the Boss', Alexander Macklin and others. Also included is Frank Worsley's verbatim 'James Caird' journal which has never been published in its entirety until now.

It's all here, every day of the expedition. From the moment Hurley joins ship in Buenos Aires to the day he becomes a WWI photographer in France, the reader accompanies him aboard the 'Endurance', to South Georgia Island and onward into the Weddell Sea, where the ship is locked immovably in the ice and eventually crushed in its grip. Forced to live on drifting ice in tents for five months, Shackleton's men overcome all odds, eventually reaching desolate Elephant Island after a grueling 7-day boat trip. Almost immediately Shackleton and 5 others set off on the most remarkable boat journey in history; the reader accompanies them on the epic ocean voyage and across the rugged landscape of South Georgia Island. The narrative then returns to Elephant Island where Hurley and his comrades await swift rescue, which arrives many terrible months later and just in time. Shackleton and his men then tour South America in triumph, Hurley later sailing to London--only to return to South Georgia Island to round-out the expedition's photographic record. Again sailing to London, Hurley is appointed Official Photographer to the Australian Imperial Force in France. Hurley's expedition diary ends on his birthday in 1917, after he confronts Shackleton for payment.

SHACKLETON'S PHOTOGRAPHER contains nine 'books'--Hurley kept his notes under various covers--which detail his involvement in the ill-fated polar attempt. Extensive endnotes, detailed background information and a thorough Afterword on Hurley, along with a concise bibliography and eight appendices, clearly make this printable CD-ROM the most comprehensive account of the 'Endurance' expedition ever offered.

A separate 40-page file, ALL Photo Ref, is also included on the CD. Culled from available expedition diaries, newspaper accounts and previously unpublished sources, ALL Photo Ref contains virtually all the information written at the time concerning Hurley's photographic methods, equipment and notations concerning expedition photographs.
(15 December 2001)

ENDURANCE IN THE ANTARCTIC Shane Murphy has recently issued a set of 16 handsome color postal cards featuring "historic images depicting the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men in the Weddell Sea in 1914-17...rare hand colored lantern slides by Frank Hurley, Paget Color plates, monochrome prints from the fabled Scott Polar Research Institute 'Green Book' and Hurley's personal collection, a painting by Norman Wilkinson and art by George Marston." These measure 6 by 4 inches and are blank on the verso. All are tinted or colored and most are titled and dated.

Available from, 4701 N. 68th Street, No 202, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 USA.
(11 January 2001)

ANTARCTICA by Jeff Rubin (Hawthorn, NSW: Lonely Planet, 1996). Second edition, 2000. 375 pp, paperback.

The first widely available travel guide to Antarctica, authored by Jeff Rubin and published by Lonely Planet, was issued this month. Although I've only skimmed the book I am very impressed. Included is much practical information and many good maps and plans. Individual sections are authored by persons well-known in their respective fields: Wildlife (John Cooper), Environmental Issues (Maj De Poorter), Antarctic Science (David Walton), Private Expeditions (Colin Monteath). Contributions also from Bob Headland, Jo Jacka, Ron Naveen, Fauno Cordes, Phil Law and others. There is good historic coverage and an excellent bibliographic discussion (and a list of antiquarian booksellers specializing in Antarcticana). Particularly interesting and useful is the section on 'Gateways': Cape Town, Christchurch, Hobart, Punta Arenas, Stanley and Ushuaia. Also covered (and with maps), many of the more important subantarctic islands and the Falklands. The Antarctic Treaty appears in the Appendix and the index is complete. There are numerous black & white and color photographs and some appealing illustrations that have a look akin to wood engravings.

The guide's US price is $17.95. It's certainly available as well in New Zealand and Australia (Lonely Planet's home country), UK and elsewhere in Europe. Also,conveniently, at Port Lockroy and The Falklands.

(November 1996)

NOTE: The new edition is now out. $19.99/£12.99. 375pp versus 362pp in the first edition. Lots of improvements, corrections and additions make this still the indispensable guide for travel and reference.

(29 August 2000)

BERNT BALCHEN, POLAR AVIATOR by Carroll V. Glines (Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999). 310 pp, cloth. $??. ISBN: 1-56098-906-8.

Book Jacket Blurb: "He set polar flight records, organized a series of daring wartime air operations, and became a leader in Arctic aviation. But despite these achievements, Norwegian American aviator Bernt Balchen saw his public image and military career repeatedly undermined by his onetime mentor, the famous and influential Admiral Richard Byrd.

In 1929 Balchen piloted Byrd's historic flight over the South Pole. During World War II Balchen masterminded a series of supply missions that parachuted intelligence agents and supplies to resistance fighters in occupied Norway. In 1952 he flew over the North Pole, becoming the first person to pilot a plane over both poles. Early in the Cold War he took the lead in establishing the U.S. Air Force's northernmost base, which prevented Soviet domination of the Arctic.

In Bernt Balchen, Carroll V. Glines describes how Byrd's respect for Balchen's talents gradually eroded even as Balchen steadily gained a wider reputation for courage and technical skill. Glines contends that Byrd derailed Balchen's postwar promotion to brigadier general, forcing his retirement from the military in 1956. He also documents how Balchen's publisher bowed to pressure from Byrd's supporters to remove material from a 1958 autobiography. Balchen had argued that Byrd's claim to have been the first to fly across the North Pole in 1926 could not be supported by speed and distance calculations.

Glines provides a full and compelling portrait of a pilot overshadowed in his lifetime by Byrd but whose expertise and vision continue to guide trans-Arctic aviation.

Carroll V. Glines is a retired Air Force colonel and curator of the Doolittle Military Aviation Library at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of thirty-one books..."

Foreword by George L. Weiss (2pp) Acknowledgments (2pp), Appendix (2pp), Notes (19pp), Bibliography (3pp), Index (7pp).

(11 January 2001)

PILGRIMS ON THE ICE: ROBERT FALCON SCOTT'S FIRST ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION by T.H. Baughman (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999). 334 pp, cloth. $45. ISBN: 0-8032-1289-5.

Book Jacket Blurb: "Robert Falcon Scott's 1901-4 expedition to the Antarctic was a landmark event in the history of Antarctic exploration and created a sensation comparable to the Arctic efforts of the American Robert E. Peary. Scott's initial expedition was also the first step toward the dramatic race to the South Pole in 1912 that resulted in the tragic deaths of Scott and his companions. Since then Scott's reputation has vacillated between two extremes: Was he a martyred hero, the beau ideal of a brave and selfless explorer, or a bumbling fool whose mistakes killed him and his entire party? In this work, Antarctic historian T. H. Baughman goes beyond the personality of Scott to remove the first expedition from the shadow of the second, to study objectively its purpose, its composition, and its real accomplishments."

From the University of Nebraska Press webpage: "An important contribution to a significant aspect of Antarctic exploration . . . Baughman's treatment includes numerous new and previously unpublished aspects of [these] personalities." - John Splettstoesser, International Organization of Antarctic Tour Operators. "By far the most authoritative analysis of Scott's Discovery expedition ever written. Baughman's scholarship is brilliant. . . . The book is a landmark." - Michael Rosove, author of 'Let Heroes Speak: Antarctic Explorers, 1772 - 1922'. "A major contribution to the history of Antarctic exploration and discovery." - Colin Bull, coeditor of 'Silas: The Antarctic Diaries and Memoir of Charles S. Wright.' Robert Falcon Scott's 1901 - 4 expedition to the Antarctic was a landmark event in the history of Antarctic exploration and created a sensation comparable to the Arctic efforts of the American Robert E. Peary. Scott's initial expedition was also the first step toward the dramatic race to the South Pole in 1912 that resulted in the tragic deaths of Scott and his companions. Since then Scott's reputation has vacillated between two extremes: Was he a martyred hero, the beau ideal of a brave and selfless explorer, or a bumbling fool whose mistakes killed him and his entire party? In this work, Antarctic historian T. H. Baughman goes beyond the personality of Scott to remove the first expedition from the shadow of the second, to study objectively its purpose, its composition, and its real accomplishments. T. H. Baughman is chair of the History Department at Benedictine College. He is the author of 'Before the Heroes Came: Antarctica in the 1890s' (Nebraska 1993).

(3 March 2000)

ANTARCTICA UNVEILED by David E. Yelverton. (University Press of Colorado, 2000). 440 pp, cloth. $34.95.

David Yelverton of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, UK will have his book, Antarctica Unveiled: Scott's First Expedition and the Quest for the Unknown Continent, published by the University Press of Colorado. With a Foreword by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, it's scheduled for issuance in the spring of 2000. Appearing below is an early description of the book provided by Mr Yelverton:

"A three-dimensional account, almost entirely based on original sources, that will ring true to those who have travelled in the footsteps of the pioneers, this book tells the full story of an expedition that has been largely erased from public perception by the drama of Scott's second expedition a decade later. The book's many new insights into an historic British achievement, and its immediate aftermath, should allow an altogether fairer estimation of its ranking in the annals of 20th Century exploration than it has been accorded in the last twenty years.

Hampered by an Admiralty, jealous of civilian control of an expedition for which they would have to provide men, and restricted by budgetary restraints unknown to the Germans, whose parallel expedition, funded almost entirely by their government, is recounted in summary form, this was an expedition that:

  • First penetrated the interior of Antarctica, opening the way to a century of research, 'in the region of its discoveries, that has yielded benefits to everyone on the planet.
  • Discovered more about Antarctica than six other expeditions that went south at the dawn of the 20th century.
  • Brought back key evidence of the existence of an Antarctic continent rather than a polar archipelago, at that time the greatest prize for geographers and scientists alike.
  • Located the 'lost' South Magnetic Pole, so vital to southern hemisphere navigation before the era of satellites.
  • Was anything but the prisoner of outdated naval tradition, the methods adopted being almost entirely those expounded by the Norwegian explorer, Nansen, who described its results as "magnificent"--even the number of dogs used was based on the famous explorer's North Pole attempt.
The book also
  • Relates not only what Scott and his men did, but why they did it, and the fraught realities that eroded Scott's original plans and personal ambitions.
  • Reveals Scott's surprising belief in a west coast of Victoria Land, spawned from the conjunction of leading geographers' theories with his initial discoveries beyond the land immediately visible from his base, a belief that shaped Scott's entire handling of the expedition.
  • Challenges the most experienced polar traveller to assert, without hindsight, that he or she would have acted differently, given what Scott knew at the time.
  • Refutes the common belief in animosity between Shackleton and Scott on and immediately after the expedition.
  • Demonstrates, in contrast to his known aversion to seal meat, that Scott was, from the first, determined to accustom everyone to eating penguin and seal meat.
  • Tells of the contribution of ordinary sailors, who became seasoned Antarctic travellers and mountaineers, on lesser known journeys that were epics of discovery in their own right.
  • Recounts how vital specimens, that showed Antarctica was once part of the Gondwana supercontinent, lay unexamined for nearly a quarter of the century, suggesting that was a significant factor in Scott's subsequent death.
  • Exposes the extraordinary gaffe that lay behind scientific establishment attacks on the work of the expedition, and how Scott never lived to read the public vindication he eventually obtained."
(7 August 1999)

Latest news from the author (August 2000): publication date set for 21 September 2000. Price: $34.95.

ANTARCTICA UNVEILED is now available (16 October 2000).

Foreword by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG
Introduction by Prof. Robert Swan O.B.E.

PROLOGUE: Prophets before their Time: The Fathers of the Conquest of Antarctica

PART I: Prelude to Achievement--The Anguished Fulfilment of a Dream
Chapter 1 Science and the Dream of Discovery--The Genesis of a National Epic
Chapter 2 The Long Road to Finance--Imperial Edict and Treasury Parsimony
Chapter 3 Ships for Dangerous Waters--Birth of the Discovery and the Gauss
Chapter 4 Preordained Strategies--Shaping of the British and German Plans
Chapter 5 Overture to Fame--Scott's Journey to Experience
Chapter 6 Disputed Ambitions--Gregory and the Leadership Challenge
Chapter 7 Ross's Successors Prepare--The Road to Cowes

PART II: Scott's Opening Campaign: In Pursuit of the Great Enigma: Antarctic Continent or Archipelago?
Chapter 8 A Race against Time--The Voyage to New Zealand
Chapter 9 To the Threshold of Destiny--Passage to a Frozen World
Chapter 10 Gateways to the Unknown--The Search for a Foothold
Chapter 11 An Icy Apprenticeship--A Disastrous Start
Chapter 12 Into a Darkened World--The First Winter at Hut Point
Chapter 13 The Best Laid Schemes--The Birth and Compromise of Scott's Plan
Chapter 14 The Blighting of the Southern Dream--Scott's Journey towards the Pole
Chapter 15 The Ramparts of Victoria Land--Armitage's Historic Ascent
Chapter 16 The Reluctant Continent--The Glacier that Kept its Secret

PART III Repulsed But Not Defeated--Prisoners of Ice and Money
Chapter 17 Hostages in a Frozen Trap--The Fate of the German Expedition
Chapter 18 Winter 1903--Season of Suspense--The Making of Scott's Second Chance

PART IV: Frustration Richly Redeemed--Scott's Second Campaign
Chapter 19 Slings and Arrows of Misfortune--The Thwarting of Scott's Start for the West
Chapter 20 The Ephemeral Horizon--Barnes Key to the Great Enigma
Chapter 21 The Origin of Antarctica--Ferrar and the Continent's Hidden Sensation
Chapter 22 The Riddle of the Barrier--Royds' Quest for the Eastern Shore
Chapter 23 The Cape Crozier Mystery--Wilson and the Emperors' Secret
Chapter 24 In Search of a Phantom Coast--Scott's Record Journey on the Summit
Chapter 25 Escape to International Acclaim--Return to a Just Renown

EPILOGUE: The Lure of the Pole--The Expedition's Fateful Legacy


01 Instructions to the Commander of the British Expedition and the Director of the Scientific Staff
02 Crews of the British and German Ships
03 Was the Discovery overmanned?
04 The Original Cabin Occupants aboard Discovery?
05 Members of every Sledge Party on the Discovery Expedition
06 The Manpower Controversy at the Decisive Stage of Scott's 1902-1903 Season
07 Further details of Scott's two main Sledge Journeys
08 Medals awarded for the British and German Expeditions
09 The Meteorological Office Blunder
10 Geological Timetable


Front: Principal Sledge Journeys and Outward Track of SS Discovery in the Ross Sea
Back: Ferrar and Upper Taylor Glaciers showing Armitage's and Scott's Camps

01 Known Coast of Antarctica in 1893
02 Discovery Mistress of the Southern Seas
03 Escape from a Very Nasty Position
04 Scene of Scott's Critical Change of Plan
05 The Southern Sledge Journey: From the Bluff Depot to Depot
06 The Southern Sledge Journey: From Depot 'B' to Farthest South
07 Barne's Second Sledge Journey to the Byrd Glacier
08 Ferrar's Epoch-Making Journey
09 Cape Crozier in 1902-1903
10 The Tracking of the South Magnetic Pole

AN UNSUNG HERO: TOM CREAN - ANTARCTIC SURVIVOR by Michael Smith (Cork: The Collins Press, 2000). 341 pp, illustrations. Cloth. ISBN: 1-898256-90-X

Tom Crean, the stalwart Irishman who travelled on three of the four British expeditions during the Heroic Age of Polar exploration, is to be celebrated in a major new book.

The book has been written by London-based author, Michael Smith and will be published in September by The Collins Press, Cork, Ireland.

It is the first-ever book about Crean and will disclose many previously unknown details about his remarkable adventures as an explorer and illustrate his lasting importance to the Heroic Age. The book will also shed new light on his private life and untimely death.

A biography of Crean is long overdue and this will put the record straight and correct some of the earlier errors which have crept into other works. Michael Smith spent almost two years researching the book, interviewing Crean's family and others, gaining access to private documents, unpublished diaries and consulting countless books and articles.

(3 March 2000)

The author reports (August 2000) that he'll be lecturing on Tom Crean in Ireland on 17 October and 1 November, and that Jonathan Shackleton will be speaking at the launch party in Ireland.

UPDATE: Michael reports: "...I was detained in Ireland, partly by the weather but mainly because of the massive interest in Tom Crean. The book is now No 1 in the hardback/non-fiction bestsellers and a big new print run has been ordered. To give you some idea of the interest, I have given 34 separate TV, radio and Press interviews, written a long feature for the Irish Times and delivered 3 public lectures to packed houses."

Some details: 341 pages, index, many black and white illustrations (mostly photographs, some not previously published, extensive endnotes, bibliography and sources. The book is now in its second printing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: An e-mail from Michael dated 15 March 2001 reports: "Crean continues to astound. My book has now been in the best-sellers for 20 weeks (currently No 3) which is remarkable considering that I have undertaken little or no publicity since November. Can't recall whether I mentioned it or not, but the book is being published in the UK as a whole in September and I would expect US publication to follow soon after."
--R. Stephenson

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: An e-mail from Michael dated 20 June 2001 reports: "UK launch is now scheduled for early September, 2001. Publisher is Headline Books Publishing. Paperback: Collins Press will launch a paperback edition in Ireland during October, 2001."
--R. Stephenson

YET AGAIN: From an e-mail Michael sent 14 August: "The UK edition of 'An Unsung Hero - Tom Crean' will be published by Headline on September 6. A paperback edition in Ireland will be launched in mid-October and I am doing a new speaking tour of Ireland to coincide with the event."
--R. Stephenson

UPDATE: The US edition is set for publication 21 February 2002. It's being issued by The Mountaineers Books, Seattle. Expected price: $24.95. Tentative title: 'Tom Crean; Unsung Hero of the Scott & Shackleton Antarctic Expeditions'. 352 pp. ISBN: 0-89886-858-0
--R. Stephenson
(13 December 2001)

UPDATE: The US edition is now out. Here's an interview with Michael and a publisher's blurb:

An Interview with Michael Smith, Author of Tom Crean: Unsung Hero of the Scott and Shackleton Antarctic Expeditions

Is it true that Tom Crean spent more time in the ice and snow than either the more celebrated Scott or Shackleton?

There were four major British expeditions to the Antarctic during the Heroic Age of exploration and Tom Crean served on three. If you count up the days and weeks spent on the ice, Crean was in the South longer than either Scott or Shackleton.

How did Crean become a Polar explorer?

Tom Crean ran away from his home on the farm at the age of 15, lied about his age and signed up for the British navy. By chance his warship was in New Zealand waters as Captain Scott's Discovery was embarking on the first major British exploration of the Antarctic in 1901. One of Scott's sailors attacked an officer and deserted. Tom Crean volunteered to join the journey into the unknown and was gone for almost 3 years.

Who was Tom Crean? What new dimension does his story add to the stories of Scott and Shackleton?

Historians tend to concentrate on Kings and Queens, presidents and generals. The contribution of the ordinary man is often overlooked. Tom Crean was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things and was at center stage of the Heroic Age of Polar exploration. He volunteered for the groundbreaking Discovery expedition in 1901, was one of the last people to see Scott alive only 150 [miles] from the South Pole in 1912 and returned to the ice months later to bury his dead leader. He joined Shackleton's Endurance expedition, piloted one of the small boats on the perilous trip to Elephant Island and begged to sail 800 miles across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia in the open boat, James Caird. He then completed the first-ever forced march across the interior of South Georgia's glaciers to rescue the stranded seamen left on Elephant Island.

What drives an "ordinary" man like Tom Crean to return to the Antarctic three times?

This is the hardest question to answer. Tom Crean was driven by a sense of adventure but no one will ever truly know why these men endured such incredible hardship. Perhaps it was the thought of being the first to tread virgin snow.

Why was Crean so important to Shackleton?

The sinking of Endurance was a terrible blow to many of the expedition and Shackleton came to rely on the loyal and trusted Crean for valuable support. At the height of the crisis, Crean and Frank Wild were the only men Shackleton could truly depend upon.

Why did Crean reject Shackleton's pleas to join his last Polar expedition?

Shackleton wanted Crean to sail on the Quest expedition in 1921. But Tom Crean turned him down by saying: "I have a long-haired pal now"--a reference to his new wife, Nell. Shackleton died before Quest got underway--perhaps Tom Crean knew the right time to quit.

Why did Crean's story remain untold for 80 years?

Tom Crean's story has remained under wraps for 80 years because he never gave a single interview and because he was poorly educated, left precious little written material behind. When he returned to Ireland in 1920, the country was engaged in the war of independence against the British and it was not popular to be associated with the Brits. Also his brother, a policeman, was murdered and he chose to keep his head down and not speak about his exploits.

What has been the response in Ireland to the discovery of a new national hero?

Ireland has taken Tom Crean to its heart and the response to my book has been incredible because he is a hero that no one knew about. One High Court judge told me he was ashamed to call himself an Irishman when he did not know the story of Tom Crean's heroics.

Is the major new Polar exhibition in Ireland (it opens in April) an opportunity for Ireland to recognize and salute Tom Crean?

The big new exhibition in Tralee, County Kerry--it runs from mid-April to December--is a great opportunity to understand Tom Crean's massive contribution to the Heroic Age of Polar exploration. To fully understand Polar history you must appreciate the huge contribution made by Crean.

What has been the response of his family in Ireland and the US?

Tom Crean's daughters and extended family in Ireland, England and America have been astonished by the great interest in the man and delighted that he has finally be granted the recognition he fully deserves.

What qualities of Crean's personality made him a survivor?

Tom Crean's great strength was his enormous physical power and formidable mental strength. He was as near to being indestructible as any human and always retained his sense of humor--a wonderful talent when many men were wilting under the intense strain.

How did he adapt back to ordinary life after such experiences?

Tom Crean returned to Ireland in 1920, married a local woman and opened a pub (bar) in his home village of Anascaul, which he called The South Pole Inn. It still stands today and is well worth a visit.


During the great age of polar exploration, there was one man who served both Scott and Shackleton, spent more time on the Antarctic ice than either of those celebrated leaders, and who was key to the survival of his party each time--a hero whose story has gone unsung. When the first biography of Irish-born Tom Crean was published in Ireland in 2001, Crean was rediscovered as a national hero; the book hit bestseller lists. Now comes Crean's debut in America. On February 21, 2001, The Mountaineers Books publishes TOM CREAN: Un-Sung Hero of the Scott & Shackleton Antarctic Expeditions by journalist Michael Smith ($24.95 hardcover). It is tribute long overdue for a man whose name graces two of the most prominent landmarks in Antarctica. ...

Said Jonathan Shackleton: "This book is a remarkable tribute to one of Ireland's great polar explorers. Michael Smith's excellent biography finally puts Tom Crean where he has long deserved to be--into the limelight amongst the other great figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration."

Undaunted by hardship and privation, seemingly indestructible, known by his crewmates for a pipe that glowed in the dark Antarctic night and a sense of humor even in the direst of situations, Tom Crean was an ordinary man of unassuming origins who achieved extraordinary things. Journalist Michael Smith became fascinated by the working class hero known to have saved the lives of his expedition mates at least twice--and for whom Crean Glacier on the island of South Georgia and Mount Crean on the Antarctic mainland are named. Only the politics of class and country kept Crean's contributions to history forgotten until now. In TOM CREAN, Michael Smith is the first to provide a full portrait of this engaging figure who never blindly followed orders, yet always did what had to be done--and was loyal to captain and crew in the process.

Crean's polar apprenticeship began by chance opportunity: the navy seaman volunteered to join Scott's Discovery expedition (1901-04) just a day before it left port from New Zealand. He quickly earned a reputation as a redoubtable, hard-working character; he was honored by being selected for the expedition's first sled trip onto the ice. Crean returned to the Antarctic on the Terra Nova (1910-13), a prominent figure on Scott's tragic last expedition. He was among the last few people on earth to see Scott alive just a few miles from the South Pole and went back onto the ice a few months later to help bury Scott's frozen body. Shortly afterwards, Crean joined Shackleton's memorable Endurance expedition (1914-16) and was a key figure in one of the greatest stories of human survival ever told. Crean was also one of the rare breed who served both the bitter rivals, Scott and Shackleton, with equal distinction. And Crean was one of an even rarer breed who was big enough turn down Shackleton's impassioned plea to join a fourth expedition in 1921, which turned out to be Shackleton's last (Shackleton died of a heart attack before the expedition left port) and the end of the "Heroic Age of Polar Exploration"; as Michael Smith notes, "perhaps Crean knew the right time to quit."

Crean's greatest moments:
Sent back to base camp by Scott just 150 miles from the South Pole, Crean, Lt. Teddy Evans, and Bill Lashly (the last people to see Scott alive) made a 750-mile race for life, dragging 200-pound sleds for up to thirteen hours a day in –20 degree weather. The situation became desperate when Evans, the navigator, developed scurvy and collapsed. Evans ordered Crean and Lashly to leave him behind and save themselves, but they refused. After dragging Evans on a sled for 100 miles, they could go no further. Crean volunteered to continue the last thirty-five miles on foot alone to base camp to raise a rescue party. Crean had no tent or sleeping bag, his pants were torn and his only provisions were two sticks of chocolate and three stale biscuits. He had to jump from ice floe to ice floe surrounded by killer whales (whales known to deliberately tip floes in search of an easy meal). Eighteen hours later he stumbled into base camp, delirious, only minutes ahead of a blinding blizzard. In recognition of this Herculean effort, Crean was awarded the Albert Medal, at the time Britain's highest award for gallantry.

Stranded on Elephant Island after the Endurance was trapped in the ice of the Weddell Sea and then sank in November 1915, Shackleton selected five men to accompany him on a desperate attempt to cross the treacherous Southern Ocean in a twenty-two-foot whaleboat. Crean--a good man for a tight spot and so mentally and physically tough that Shackleton knew he would not break--was an obvious choice. Indeed, at their bleakest moments on the perilous voyage, Crean would break into song "as though it was a pleasure cruise." A particular favorite was "The Wearin' o' the Green." When they reached land, only three men were still standing: Shackleton, navigator Frank Worsley, and Crean. The three made a forced march across the mountainous interior of South Georgia Island--they were the first to cross this unexplored territory--with only fifty feet of rope between them and a carpenter's adze. When the horribly disheveled "scarecrows" finally entered the whaling station town of Stromness, residents scattered in fright. Four months later, Crean stood alongside Shackleton when the rescue ship reached Elephant Island to rescue their waiting comrades.

Why Crean's story remained untold until now:
Most of the men who traveled on polar expeditions were drawn from the well-educated English middle-classes, who kept meticulous diaries and wrote a constant stream of letters. As a result, they left behind a wealth of material for historians. Tom Crean, however, came from the wrong side of the tracks. He was a poorly educated son of an Irish hill farmer who ran away from home at age fifteen to join the navy and escape poverty. He did not keep a diary; only a handful of his letters survived. And although Crean was clearly valued by both Scott and Shackleton, it is not surprising that the working class hero went uncelebrated in England. The British--even in the extreme conditions of Antarctica--still maintained a rigid class structure. But Irish politics also played a role. When Crean retired from the British navy in 1920 and returned home to Ireland, the war of independence was at its height. It was not a time to advertise any associations with Britain (Crean's brother, a member of the royal Irish Constabulary, was shot dead at about this time.). "Crean chose to keep his head down and remain silent about his adventures," says Michael Smith.

Sources consulted by the author:
To create a portrait of Crean and his place in history, Michael Smith combed numerous museums and libraries in Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland. Searching by Internet turned up more clues from sources in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, among other regions. He inspected the letters and diaries--many never published--of the men who worked alongside Crean on the ice. He also interviewed those who remember Tom Crean, including Crean's two surviving daughters and elderly residents of Crean's home village, Anascaul. "I felt a responsibility to set the record straight and ensure that Tom Crean was given the recognition he so rightly deserves," says Smith.

About the author:
Michael Smith has been a business and political journalist in Britain for thirty years, working for national newspapers including The Guardian and The Observer. Smith's fascination with Tom Crean began when, as a schoolboy, he read of Scott's ill-fated final expedition. He decided to write Crean's biography when he met the granddaughter of Crean expedition-mate Teddy Evans. "I'm only here because of Tom Crean," she told him. Smith now writes full-time on polar history and currently lives in London.

Publication: February 21, 2002
Pages: 352
Art: 16-page photo insert
Price: $24.95 hardcover
ISBN: 0-89886-870-X
I cannot speak too highly of Crean and Worsley, who have seen this through with me. My name has been known to the general public for a long time and it has mostly been as leader, but how much depends upon the men! What I do would be small, did we not work together.
--Ernest Shackleton

We had a hot time of it the last twelve months when we lost Endurance and I must say the Boss is a splendid gentleman. And I done my duty toward him to the last.
--Tom Crean

--R. Stephenson
(16 April 2002)

FRANK WILD by Leif Mills (Whitby: Caedmon of Whitby, 1999). 343 pp, 22 black & white illustrations, several maps. Cloth. £25.50.

After an Introduction the 10 chapters are: Beginning 1873-1901; Discovery 1901-1904; Nimrod 1907-1909; Aurora 1911-1914; Endurance 1914-1946; Elephant Island April-August 1916; Spitsbergen 1918-1919; Quest 1921-1922; South Africa 1923-1939; Assessment. There's a short and not very satisfactory index. Also, a listing of the officers and men of the Discovery, Nimrod, Aurora, Endurance and Quest. A complete listing of sources with details would have been useful.

From the publisher's brochure: "Scott, Shackleton and Wild are three of the predominant names in the history of British Antarctic exploration. The lives of the two former have been well documented; very little has been written about the latter. It is hoped that this extensive biography will remedy that omission. The author has expanded the original research notes of A.G.E. Jones to build a comprehensive picture of a polar pioneer whose antarctic work began a century ago with Scott and continued with Shackleton."

The extensive quotes from Wild's journals and from family correspondence make the book worthwhile, and certainly there are biographical details that haven't appeared before. Unfortunately, too many irregularities appear, the fault of both the author and the publisher: Lyttelton is misspelled throughout, the copyediting, punctuation and typesetting are often imaginative at best, and appearing here and there are careless errors (Macquarie Island is an Australian possession not New Zealand, and the 'Aurora Australis' was a long-planned project and far more than "twenty five or thirty copies were sewn and bound."
--R. Stephenson
(10 August 1999)

SHACKLETON'S WAY: LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE GREAT ANTARCTIC EXPLORER by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell. Preface by Alexandra Shackleton (New York: Viking, 2001) 224 pp, cloth, $24.95. ISBN: 0670891967. Now available in the UK, published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London. Paperback. £14.99. ISBN: 1-85788-211-3.

Shackleton's Way is a case study of the amazing leadership strategies of Sir Ernest Shackleton, focusing on his 1914-1916 Endurance expedition to the Antarctic.

Before reaching the continent, the Endurance was trapped by pack ice, launching the crew on a harrowing 18-month fight for their lives. All the 27 crewmen had to survive were three rickety lifeboats, some provisions, and one of the most extraordinary leaders of their time. The book analyzes exactly how that leader, Shackleton, got all his men to safety without a single loss of life. He did it by building trust in his abilities, fostering camaraderie and keeping the men focused on the goal. He faced down the group bully, served tea in bed to the ship's cry baby, tutored the stowaway, flattered the egomaniacs, kept the biggest troublemakers close to him, and made everyone work together, breaking down barriers of class, education, and nationality. The authors, Margot Morrell, a financial representative at Fidelity Investments, and Stephanie Capparell, an editor at The Wall Street Journal, explain Shackleton's methods and show how they can be applied in today's business world. They also interview prominent business leaders who have been inspired by the Shackleton story.

Appearing below is the book's Introduction:

He has been called "the greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none," yet he never led a group larger than 27, he failed to reach nearly every goal he ever set and, until recently, he had been little remembered since his death in 1922. But once you learn the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his remarkable Antarctic expedition of 1914 you'll come to agree with the effusive praise of those under his command. He is a model of great leadership and, in particular, a master of guidance in crisis.

That's because Shackleton failed only at the improbable; he succeeded at the unimaginable. "I love the fight and when things [are] easy, I hate it," he once wrote to his wife, Emily Dorman. He failed to reach the South Pole in 1902, when he was part of a three-man Farthest South team on the Discovery expedition of the great explorer Captain Robert F. Scott. But the men turned back only after walking their scurvy-ravaged bodies to within 463 miles of the Pole in a terrifying cold experienced only by a handful of human beings at that time. Six years later, commanding his own expedition aboard the Nimrod, Shackleton was forced to stop a heartbreaking 97 miles short of the Pole, but only after realizing it would be certain death by starvation had his team continued. He was forgiven that failure in light of the greatness of the effort; he was knighted by King Edward VII and honored as a hero throughout the world.

His greatest failure was his 1914-1916 Endurance expedition. He lost his ship before even touching Antarctica. But he reached a new pinnacle in leadership when he successfully led all 27 members of his crew to safety after a harrowing two-year fight for their lives.

Anyone can benefit from these lessons: a teacher, a parent, a leader of a community organization, as well as the corporate manager. Shackleton's wisdom is by no means simple or obvious. Much of it is counterintuitive for those schooled in more conventional management tactics. Shackleton served tea in bed to the ship's crybaby, flattered the egomaniacs, and kept close to him the least-liked people. Often, he made great personal sacrifices. Sometimes he led by not leading at all.

R. W. Richards, a scientist on the Ross Sea party of the Endurance expedition, said simply, "Shackleton, with all his faults, was a great man, or should I say a great leader of men."

Shackleton made his men want to follow him; he did not force them to do so. In the process, he changed the way his crewmen saw themselves and the world, and continued to inspire them for as long as they lived. There is no greater tribute to a leader. His tools were humor, generosity, intelligence, strength, and compassion.

That's Shackleton's Way.

(4 June 2000)

UPDATE: Some of the above appeared in an article by co-author Stephanie Capparell on page B1 of the December 19, 2000 issue of 'The Wall Street Journal.' The headline: Shackleton's Techniques For Surviving Antarctica Inspire Business Leaders. The article gives a few lessons from Shackleton's approaches to leadership: 1) Immediately address your staff, offering a plan of action, asking for everyone's support and showing confidence in a positive outcome. 2) Give your staff an occasional reality check. After time, people will start to treat a crisis situation as business as usual and lose their focus. 3) Keep malcontents close to you and win their support. 4) Use humor and other diversions to relieve tension. 5) Let all the people involved in a crisis participate in the solution.

(11 January 2000)

UPDATE: The book is now available. sales rank = 124. Congratulations, Margot and Stephanie!

(13 January 2001)

LEADING AT THE EDGE: LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE EXTRAORDINARY SAGA OF SHACKLETON'S ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION by Dennis N.T. Perkins (New York: American Management Association, 2000). 267 pp, cloth. $24.95.

Recently published. Have only seen it briefly.

(4 June 2000)

THE FIFTH MAN: HENRY R. BOWERS by Charles H. Lagerbom (Whitby: Caedmon of Whitby, 1 November 1999). 239 pp, cloth. ISBN: 0905355512.

New biography of Henry "Birdie" Bowers. I've not seen it yet but I understand it's quite good. Caedmon titles are often hard to find in bookshops even in the UK.

(3 March 2000)

I now have a copy and am close to the end. The entries from Bowers' journal are useful but otherwise most of the material and conclusions stem from secondary sources. I learned a bit more about Lt Evans and his treatment by Scott (perhaps confirmed by the Evans' letter recently appearing at Christie's). Although Caedmon does a service in publishing Antarcticana, it really needs to retain a copy editor and finally learn the spelling of Lyttelton. Also, it's not Griffith-Taylor but Griffith Taylor (actually Thomas Griffith Taylor). Small points (and not the only ones) but they're still annoying.
--R. Stephenson
(16 October 2000)

LET HEROES SPEAK: ANTARCTIC EXPLORERS 1772-1922 by Michael H. Rosove (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, publication date May 15, 2000). 320 pp, cloth. ISBN: 1557509670.

Book Description (from Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott are names familiar to most of us but few know the compelling details of their Antarctic explorations and those of other early explorers who opened the forbidding region to future discovery. In this single volume the author tells their story, voyage by voyage, in language that's as accessible to the general reader as it is to scholars and polar buffs.

Taking a refreshingly different approach from other writers, Michael Rosove skillfully weaves together the explorers' own insightful and inspiring comments with a narrative that puts readers in the midst of events. From Captain James Cook's expedition in 1772 to Shackleton's final expedition in 1922, he describes these small parties of intrepid men. Heroes to many, the pioneers discovered the continent, explored its perilous coasts, penetrated its interior, and reached the South Pole, making the technically sophisticated expeditions of later years possible. With their words, Rosove helps readers appreciate their struggles against almost inconceivable hardships, the challenges to their leadership, their awe at the magnificent natural wonders they beheld, and the profound spiritual effects of their polar experiences.

The book is based on some two hundred primary and secondary sources and provides more than thirty photographs and maps that draw readers even further into the story.

For those who need a convenient reference, this book's organization and comprehensive index make it easy to find information about a particular voyage or expedition.

NOTE: Michael is nearing completion of his long-awaited Antarctic bibliography. When published this will immediately be the reference in the field for collectors and scholars.

(3 March 2000)

SHACKLETON'S FORGOTTEN MEN: THE UNTOLD TRAGEDY OF THE ENDURANCE EPIC by Lennard Bickel (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1 November 1999). 272 pp, cloth. $21.ISBN: 1560252561.

Book Description (from Ernest Shackleton, an undeniably brave explorer, labored under a terrible ambition for nearly two decades: the desire to be the first man to reach the South Pole. Repeatedly thwarted by the elements, then finally beaten by the Norwegian adventurer Roald Amundsen, Shackleton revised his objective in 1912. He would be the first, he decided, to complete "the crossing of the South Polar Continent, from sea to sea."

Shackleton planned to take his ship, Endurance, to the Weddell Sea and from there set out on foot across the polar plateau; he and his party would be supplied at depots set out by another exploring party. Shackleton never arrived at those depots; Endurance was crushed by sea ice, its sailors marooned for months of endless winter. Unaware of Endurance's fate, the 10-man supply party set out on the other side of the continent and discharged their duties without complaint. In the process, three of them died after crossing hundreds of miles of unforgiving, storm-blasted ice.

"Their sacrifice," writes Lennard Bickel, "became a footnote in history and was forgotten, even though Shackleton himself summed up their long agony by saying that 'no more remarkable story of human endeavour has been revealed than the tale of that long march'." Bickel's thoughtful history gives these courageous explorers their due, and it provides a valuable addition to the library of Antarctic travel. --Gregory McNamee

The drama of Shackleton's Antarctic survival story overshadowed the other expedition. Launched by the famous explorer (and led by Captain Aeneas Mackintosh), its purpose was to lay supply depots across the Great Ross Ice Shelf in preparation for the Endurance expedition. Despite completing the longest sledge journey in polar history (199 days) and enduring near unimaginable deprivation, this heroic band accomplished much of their mission, laying the way for men who never came. All suffered; some died.

Now Australian writer Lennard Bickel remembers these forgotten heroes in a gripping account that fills in a little-known and ironic piece of the Shackleton puzzle. Largely drawn from the author's interviews with team member Dick Richards, this retelling underscores the capacity of ordinary men for endurance and noble action.

Other Antarctic books by Bickel: This Accursed Land (London: Macmillan,1980); In Search of Frank Hurley (Melbourne: Macmillan, 1980); Mawson's Will (New York: Stein & Day, 1977).

NOTES: A reprint of Bickel's "Shackleton's Forgotten Argonauts" (Macmillan [Australia], 1982.) It was later reprinted by Allen and Unwin under the title "The Last Antarctic Heroes." This new issue is described by the publisher as a 'first edition' on the copyright page which is annoying, even deceptive. There's no mention of the earlier editions (which would be customary) and no note to the effect that the author of the Foreword, Lord Shackleton, died some years ago! On the other hand, it's the only book currently in-print on the Ross Sea Party, the proverbial second fiddle of Antarctic exploration. The true first edition has an index; this edition doesn't. Also, some members of the party are incorrectly identified in the frontispiece photograph.

I understand that a new treatment of the Ross Sea Party is now in preparation in New Zealand.
--R. Stephenson
(3 March & 16 October 2000)

SHACKLETON: THE ANTARCTIC CHALLENGED by Kim Heacox (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1999). 215 pp, cloth. $35. ISBN: 0792275365.

Book Description (from "In August 1914, as World War I began, Ernest Shackleton and a small band of explorers sailed for Antarctica aboard a ship called Endurance. Few expeditions have been more aptly named -- and few leaders more courageous or inspirational. For two years, Shackleton and his men battled the elements in a saga that nearly defies description. Amazingly, not a man was lost...but their extraordinary feat was eclipsed by the Great War, and for three quarters of a century was all but forgotten. No longer: interest in Shackleton and Antarctica has never been greater. Yet even now, he is remembered for only one extraordinary expedition. But there is far more to Sir Ernest Shackleton -- and this wonderful book tells the whole story.

His first encounter with the Antarctic was with Robert Scott, who would become his foremost rival. On his second attempt, he turned back within reach of the South Pole, preferring to save himself and his men rather than pushing on and dying on the return trip, as his former mentor Scott famously chose to do. "Better a live mule than a dead lion," he remarked to his wife upon his return, but in the end he died in the Antarctic that called him back, and back again, and he was buried there at his wife's behest.

Now, at last, here is a book that tells the whole story of an explorer who ranks with Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus, James Cook, and Sir Richard Burton in his determination to follow his vision and his dream.

'Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenge' is adventure literature par excellence: a remarkable portrait in words and arresting images of an unforgiving world and a small, indomitable fraternity who refused to surrender to relentless hardship."

(3 March 2000)

MAWSON: A LIFE by Philip Ayres (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1999). 20 colour plates, 44 halftones, 5 maps. 342 pp. A$39.95, cloth. ISBN: 0 522 84811 7.


In the heroic age of polar exploration, Sir Douglas Mawson stands in the first rank. His Antarctic expeditions of 1911-14 and 1929-31 resulted in Australia's claiming 40 per cent of the sixth continent. The sole survivor of an epic 300-mile trek, Mawson was also a scientist of national stature. His image on banknotes and stamps reflects enduring public esteem.

Yet until now there has been no comprehensive, objective biography of this tall, quiet figure. Aside from his two great expeditions, we have known remarkably little about him.

Sources exist in profusion. People who knew him socially and professionally from as early as the 1920s are still alive. He kept copies of almost all his correspondence, and his papers reveal his most private self, his virtues and flaws, his social and professional circles, and the development and disintegration of his friendships. Most of this material has scarcely been touched over the years.

Philip Ayres has now uncovered, from these and many other unpublished sources, a complex and interesting figure. He portrays Mawson the geo-politician with influential friends and rivals who, in 1942, offered his services to Prime Minister Curtin as Ambassador to Washington. In the Antarctic darkness of 1913, he confronted the bewildered delusions of a companion who believed himself to be Jesus Christ. He once took an advanced monoplane to the ends of the earth and forgot to pay for it. During the Great War, he compiled detailed reports on chemical weapons during visits to the vast war factories of England.

Ayres also shows us the devoted husband of Paquita; the social Mawson of the Adelaide Club; the scientist within his national and international networks; the geologist who in 1924 failed to get the Sydney Chair; and the litigious Mawson, suing or threatening suit against associates who failed him.

The icon both converges and conflicts with the real man. In this long-awaited, most impressive and readable biography, Philip Ayres not only illuminates Douglas Mawson's many achievements but also enables us to know and understand him as a human being.

The book's many illustrations include reproductions of exquisite early colour photographs from the Antarctic expedition of 1911-14.


Dr Philip Ayres is Associate Professor of English Literature at Monash University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London). His main fields of research are eighteenth-century England and Australian biography. His previous books include 'Malcolm Fraser: A Biography and Classical Culture' and the 'Idea of Rome in Eighteenth Century England'.


' . . . by unearthing a massive amount of new material, using thousands of previously unpublished personal letters and expeditioners' diary notes, Ayres manages to chip away the ice to reveal the man inside that well-known image of a knight in woolen armor.' (Paul Heinrichs, The Age, 9 August 1999)

'Philip Ayres' life of Mawson is a minor masterpiece of research . . . if you wish to know what Mawson did . . . you won't leave Ayres' book shortchanged. It is full of fascinating disclosures . . .' (Gideon Haigh, The Age, 2 October 1999).

'Philip Ayres has written a splendid book: a copy should be in every polar library . . . [a] scholarly and meticulously researched book.' (Malcolm Knight, Aurora, September 1999).

'Philip Ayres deserves congratulations for sorting through a pack of polar lies and presenting his truths in this excellent biography. Philip Ayres has researched neglected archives and brought forth a detailed account of an unknowable man. It is a valuable volume for the record.' (Heather Rossiter, Quadrant, November, 1999)

' . . . in this definitive biography . . . Ayres reveals a man whose passions extended far beyond the frozen continent that made him famous.' (Peter Laud, Sunday Times, 29 August 1999)

'Mawson is the product of a number of years of research. Philip Ayres has thus provided a significant contribution to our understanding of this eminent Australia.' (Michael Daniel, News Weekly, October 1999)

(7 March 2000)

DOUGLAS MAWSON--THE LIFE OF AN EXPLORER A pictorial biography by Lincoln Hall. Research: Barbara Scanlan. (Sydney: New Holland Publishers, 2000). Numerous black and white, mainly photographic illustrations. 224 pp. A$49.95, cloth. ISBN: 1 864 36670 2.

The Young Mawson
The Shackleton School
Coming of Age
South on the Aurora
The Windiest Place in the World
Dux Ipse
Cold Comfort
Mawson of the Antarctic
For King and Country
Man of Science
Picture Credits
A handsome book not easily found outside of Australia, at least at the moment. Covers Mawson's life from start to finish with many illustrations not previously published. Nicely produced.

From the dustjacket: "Author Lincoln Hall, a mountaineer and adventurer himself, offers a fresh interpretation not only of Mawson's exploits but also of his motivations, his character and his knack for survival. But the book is much more than a book about Antarctic exploration. Its 170 photographs, among them rare family snapshots and some of Frank Hurley's greatest Antarctic images, paint a portrait of Mawson against a background of some of the most important events of the 20th century. Mawson emerges as a dedicated geologist and committed family man as well as an extraordinary adventurer."

(15 March 2001)